Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has expressed disgust at the latest obstacle being put in the way of displaying the sculpture honouring the role of Derry’s Factory Women.
“It is now 10 years since the work to remember the role of Derry Women in the Factories of our city was first commissioned and still it has not been erected. 10 years of obstacles to what should have been a straight forward project is nothing short of a disgrace.
“Since being approached by the late Inez Mc Cormack to be involved in this project I have been frustrated by the constant hurdles that have been put in our way. Every time one obstacle was overcome and we thought we were back on track another obstacle was placed in our way.
“With the latest obstacle being ‘NIEA concerns about the visual impact of the sculpture on listed buildings around harbour square’ I have now come to the belief that the powers that be, including the DOE Minister, Mark H Durkan do not “believe” that the profiling of such a piece of artwork honouring the Factory Women is of enough significance to occupy a prime city centre site.
“As I have worked closely over the last few years with the artist, Louise Walsh I can state categorically that none of these “obstacles” were of her making but were Issues arising entirely with those tasked with decision making.
“I recently took this issue to the DOE Minister Mark H Durkan where it the NI Environmental agency had concerns about the visual impact of the sculpture on listed buildings around harbour square was raised. NIEA indicated that they raised these objections in January 2015.
“This is despite the fact that Preliminary Planning Discussion (PAD) meetings have been taking place since 2013 and no such objections were raised. The Artist re-engaged in this process because of the successful outcomes of PAD meetings in 2013 on the understanding that progress was being made.
“Despite public consultation. a public campaign , public petition, letters/ deputations to Ministers this project is again under threat
“What does that say about how we recognise the role of the thousands of Derry women who were the backbone of our economy for decades. I must say I am disgusted at the litany of delays.” CRÍOCH/END