Sinn Féin Councillor and former Mayor Elisha McCallion has expressed disappointment that the bid for European Youth Capital status by Derry & Strabane District Council (DCSDC) has been unsuccessful.
Councillor McCallion said:
“I am obviously disappointed that DCSDC have on this occasion been unsuccessful in its bid for European Youth Capital (EYC) status in 2019.
“Nonetheless all the excellent work carried out by Oonagh McGillion, Council’s Director of Legacy and her highly competent team should not be underestimated. Nor should the contributions of over 10,000 young people who participated in the consultation process.
“It gave me great satisfaction as one of my priority initiatives in my Mayoral year to launch the bid for this prestigious accolade for our youth and City & District.
“To this end I worked with the business sector, met with investors and drove the bid to secure EYC status for 2019.
“All of this foundation work should not be lost to our City & District. We need to resolve to build on it to ensure that regardless of titles the city and district, and wider region,reap the economic and social benefits that a City & District Youth Capital can bring, securing the EYC for Derry and Strabane would have been a major psychological coup for the entire region but it is not to be and we do not need a title to commit to making 2019 a year for youth. I believe that council should determine to capitalise on the excellent preparatory work already carried out and I am committed to trying to bring about a year for youth in this region in 2019.
“It would still enhance our cultural, social, political and economic life and lift our profile in terms of showcasing our tourism offering and our unique history.
“It will enable us to showcase the vibrancy of our young people and their creativity and help us deliver youth based activities and job opportunities. It will encourage young people’s involvement in developing and shaping policies that will affect their futures.
“During preparation for the bid, a lot of effort was invested in direct engagement with young people and the wider population across the community, voluntary, statutory and youth sectors in an effort to identify the real issues affecting young people. Now that they have been identified then let’s address and act on them.
“We now have an opportunity to harness the vitality and creativity that is available in our young people to ensure that their full potential is delivered on.
“I congratulate and commiserate with Oonagh McGillion and all of the Council staff who were part of preparing the bid and assure them of my full support and that of my Party in seeking the best manner in which to utilise the information they have gathered so that their hard work and efforts can be rewarded.”