Peace Bridge brings hope to city
A new bridge linking divided communities in Londonderry will be a catalyst for change in the city, Martin McGuinness has said
Stormont's Deputy First Minister, who hails from the city, joined First Minister Peter Robinson and Irish Republic premier Enda Kenny at the official opening of the 235-metre Peace Bridge across the River Foyle.
Linking the predominantly Catholic city centre to the largely Protestant Waterside, Mr McGuinness said the foot and cycle bridge was an example of how his home city was changing.
"This bridge will be a catalyst for change that will help transform the city and the local community," he said.
"While the bridge alone will not solve all our problems, it gives us a real opportunity for change. Change cannot happen without the full support of us all. So it is up to you, me, my colleagues in the Executive and the Assembly to continue to work positively together to build upon the good work that has already been done, recognising that differences still exist but respecting those differences. "
Six hundred school children from both main religious faiths sang at event.
The snaking structure across the Foyle was funded to the tune of £14.6 million by the Special EU Programmes Body, which supports projects to bring together divided communities. It was delivered by Derry regeneration company Ilex.
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
The bridge runs from behind the Guildhall Square on the city side on to the parade ground in the former Ebrington Barracks on the Waterside.
"The bridge extends the reach of the Waterside into the city centre encouraging the creation of a larger city - a shared city, a welcoming city, a city that is moving forward with a very real sense of pride, an abundance of talent and a lot of confidence and hope for the future," said Mr Robinson.