30/05/2013

L'Derry Guildhall Reopened

The transformation of L'Derry's famous Guildhall building has been officially completed, following its reopening this afternoon.

Tourism and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said the renovation and restoration of the Guildhall would transform the city into a world-class tourism destination.

The Minister was speaking at an event to mark the official re-opening of the Guildhall, which was also attended by Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, and Environment Minister, Alex Attwood.

She said: "The Guildhall is a magnificent, historic building and one of Londonderry’s most important assets. Completion of the restoration programme means it can now fulfil its full potential as a multi-faceted visitor experience.

"It will also be a key venue during the 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations. It is a particularly nice touch that the two Guildhalls of London and Londonderry will link up to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the city in July with the new 'At Sixes and Sevens' cantata.

"My Department, through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, has allocated over £14m in investment to Londonderry in recent years through the Walled City Signature Project, made up of the Built Heritage Programme, Walled City Lighting Strategy and a number of other projects.

"I want to see a Walled City that has international standout and visitor appeal and this refurbishment at the Guildhall is another vital piece in that jigsaw."

Environment Minister, Alex Attwood said: "The Guildhall was always a key symbolic building at the heart of this city, but now it has been opened up to become more of a tourist facility. This will provide an additional reason to visit or stay longer in the historic city of Derry. I commend the vision of the Council to commission and deliver this scheme.

"I welcome DOE’s role in providing over £300,000 of support for repairs, carried out as part of the work through the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s Listed Buildings Grant-Aid Scheme, as well as providing advice, when required, to the design team."

(IT/CD)

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