Two thousand republicans will gather in Derry at the weekend for the 2015 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis.
The event will bring Sinn Féin activists from across Ireland together to vote on motions and determine party policy.
The Millennium Forum will be backed to capacity on Friday and Saturday with speeches, debates, workshops and fringe events.
It is the first time the Ard Fheis has been held in Derry in the history of Sinn Féin and preparations have been underway in the city for months to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The fact that it is being held in the city is a sign of the increasing political strength of Sinn Féin in Derry and reinforces the reality that Derry is now a republican city.
Derry has contributed greatly to the growth of Sinn Féin in recent years and party activists from the city are involved at every level of the party, providing leadership and shaping the decisions taken nationally.
As someone who has attended ard fheiseanna across Ireland for many years, it is a great honour to welcome the 2015 Ard Fheis to Derry and a privilege to take part in as the Sinn Féin candidate in the upcoming Westminster election.
As well as bringing together Sinn Féin activists and their families and guests, the Ard Fheis will also attract significant media attention with journalists and political correspondents, shining a light on the progressive politics of Sinn Féin in Derry.
Sections of the Ard Fheis will be broadcast live on television, allowing people throughout Ireland and further afield to join us and watch the speeches, including the Presidential Address from Gerry Adams TD on Saturday night.
This will provide an opportunity for us to showcase Derry as a venue for major conferences to a worldwide audience.
Hosting the Ard Fheis will also bring a huge economic boost to the city with an expected influx of around 2,000 people visiting the city over the weekend.
It is estimated that the Ard Fheis will bring more than £1 million to the city with hotels, restaurants, bars and others in the hospitality sector benefiting from the number of additional visitors.
This year’s Ard Fheis also falls within Seachtain na Gaeilge and on International Women’s Day and we will be marking both these occasions with events and workshops, celebrating the role of the Irish language and women in modern Irish republicanism.
We will also be recognising and celebrating the contribution of four inspirational republicans, one from each province, at the Le Chéile dinner in the City Hotel and it will be my great honour to play a part in the event on Saturday evening.
So join us at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in Derry on Friday and Saturday, either in person at the Millennium Forum, online via our social media platforms, or on television during the live sections to ensure this will be one of the best ard fheiseanna ever and a weekend to remember in Derry.