NI cities’ joint bid for Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture hits set­back


LON­DON­DERRY and Belfast can­not both be of­fi­cial Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture, it has emerged.

A joint bid by the cities to se­cure the ti­tle for 2023 was launched in July by Lord Mayor of Belfast Nuala McAl­lis­ter and Derry and Stra­bane mayor Mao­liosa McHugh.

At a meet­ing of Derry and Stra­bane Coun­cil’s busi­ness and cul­ture com­mit­tee it was noted only one city can hold the ti­tle.

Vice chair of the com­mit­tee Derek Hussey (UUP) said he had sus­pected that not ev­ery­thing had been made clear in pre­vi­ous pre­sen­ta­tions. fol­low­ing the scare.

The in­ci­dent came less than a week af­ter Ge­orge’s first day on Septem­ber 7.

A po­lice spokesman said: “The ar­rest at 14.15hrs on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 13, re­lates to an in­ci­dent at Thomas’s Bat­tersea School on Tues­day, Septem­ber 12 when an in­di­vid­ual gained ac­cess to its premises.

“The ar­rested woman was taken to a south London po­lice sta­tion where she re­mains in cus­tody.

“We are work­ing with

“I had my reser­va­tions in re­gard to the joint bid, be­liev­ing of course that Lon­don­derry had the ca­pac­ity and the ex­per­tise to take for­ward a bid in their own right,” he said.

“But the de­ci­sion was made within Derry and Stra­bane District Coun­cil to bring for­ward a joint bid.”

Mr Hussey said it was now a ques­tion of which city would go for­ward as the of­fi­cial ap­pli­cant, and what guar­an­tees could be made to the part­ner city.

“The im­por­tant as­pect is to en­sure that we have a co­her­ent and un­der­stand­able sub­mis­sion go­ing to stage two, and one that is mind­ful of all the part­ners in­volved in the process,” he added.

Derry and Stra­bane District the school, which is at­tended by Prince Ge­orge, to re­view its se­cu­rity ar­range­ments af­ter the in­ci­dent.

“Po­lice were alerted and of­fi­cers at­tended im­me­di­ately af­ter the is­sue came to light.

“Po­lice are part of the pro­tec­tive se­cu­rity ar­range­ments for the prince and we will con­tinue to work closely with the school, which is re­spon­si­ble for build­ing se­cu­rity on its site.”

A Kens­ing­ton Palace spokes­woman said: “We are aware of the is­sue, but we would not com­ment fur­ther on se­cu­rity mat­ters.” Coun­cil said: “The com­mit­ment from the coun­cils is to work to­gether with Europe through cul­ture to make our cities bet­ter places for our cit­i­zens and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“The coun­cils will con­sider the fi­nal de­tail of the stage one bid book in the com­ing weeks and con­tinue with their strong work­ing part­ner­ship.”

Belfast City Coun­cil said: “Both cities are fully rep­re­sented in the bid con­tent and we will con­tinue to work in close part­ner­ship to en­sure that pro­gram­ming and de­liv­ery is linked to at­tract the max­i­mum ben­e­fits for each.

“Both coun­cils will con­sider pa­pers on the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture bid on Septem­ber 22.”

Prince Ge­orge was back at school yes­ter­day and (left) his first day with the Duke of Cam­bridge and He­len Haslem, head of the lower school, at Thomas’s Bat­tersea

De­ci­sion: Derek Hussey

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