Sinn Féin Councillor Barney O’Hagan has said that the potential Economic impact of City of Culture projects must be harnessed and built on.
Councillor O Hagan commented:
“The results of the Ilex-urc Ltd commissioned Oxford Economics analysis of the economic impact City of Culture status has had on the Derry economy, is generally positive. As with every analysis there will always be downsides if one wishes to look for them but I think we should concentrate of the potential benefits.
“It is therefore essential that the potential identified during the Culture Year be harnessed and translated into real jobs, particularly in areas of high unemployment and deprivation.
“There are many positive factors contained in the report and we should be encouraged by the opportunities and challenges that they present. The people of this City played a major role in the success of City of Culture and must share in the benefits.
“With a significant number of visitor enquiries coming from Continental Europe and North America and record numbers of room nights sold it was obviously a boom year for the hospitality industry. But we must not sit on our laurels.
“According to the report, cumulative spend – from the bid period through to delivery of City of Culture 2013 totaled £166m, of which £137m was for capital projects and £28m on programme-related outputs. The projects delivered by this investment by the Executive Departments – particularly the Culture Department under Carál Ní Chuilín -has set a strong foundation on which to build a real legacy. We must not squander the opportunity.
We must also recognise the massive potential in the extensive coverage achieved nationally and internationally during events such as Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the Return of Colmcille and the Walled City Tattoo, and devise a marketing strategy to tap into that coverage. A strategy that will deliver jobs and economic benefits to the whole City and Region!