Sinn Féin Councillor and group leader on Derry City and Strabane District Council Paul Fleming has called on Europe to recognise that the people of the North voted to remain and that the Belfast, Derry and Strabane bid for European Capital of Culture should not be excluded.
Speaking following the decision by the European Commission that cities in Britain and the North of Ireland will not be eligible to apply Cllr Fleming said:
“The decision to exclude the bid of Belfast, Derry and Strabane from the European Capital of Culture decisions is wrong and short sighted.
“It is yet another example of the disaster that Brexit continues to be for Ireland.
“In 2008 the Liverpool economy benefited to the tune of close to a billion pounds and visitor numbers increased by 34%.
“The potential of this for Belfast, Derry and Strabane in 2023 is now gone and the DUP, the Tories and other local pro-Brexit parties need to bear the blame.
“It highlights clearly the need for Designated Special Status within the EU for the north of Ireland.
“If this decision is allowed to stand it will have a massive negative impact on our tourism and hospitality sector and will affect the potential creation of a huge number of jobs.
“Every effort must be made to overturn this decision and Sinn Féin will play its part in opposing this decision.
“It is now incumbent upon businesses, tourism organisations and the public to stand up and speak out for special status and against those whose support for Brexit is causing serious economic damage to the economy.”