Culture city bid concerns 'bizarre'
Sinn Fein concerns about Londonderry`s bid for UK City of Culture status are "bizarre", Northern Ireland's culture minister has said.
Nelson McCausland said people would struggle to understand why republicans have raised problems over the application for 2013.
Sinn Fein wants to see more emphasis on the Irish language and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).
Mr McCausland said: "I have described it as bizarre and I think people elsewhere will look at it in the same light.
"It is a development that clearly indicates division at a time when we are trying to move to a shared and better future in Northern Ireland."
Derry, Sheffield, Norwich and Birmingham have been shortlisted for the City of Culture title.
The four cities have until May 28 to develop and submit their full bids before the winning city is announced in June.
Democratic Unionist minister Mr McCausland added: "It is also rather bizarre in that 2013 is a special date for the city, as it is the 400th anniversary of the granting of a charter to the city by King James the First, and that is one of the reasons why the city council was so keen to proceed with the bid."
Sinn Fein council group leader Maeve McLaughlin said the party had contributed to progressing the bid. She added the council has said the bid is in draft form and will be developed further.
"I welcome this clarification and look forward to working with the group to ensure a true reflection of the cultural diversity and richness of our great city," she said.