Derry bridge ‘is peace symbol’
A new bridge in Derry is being described as a symbol of the city’s journey out of conflict to a brighter future.
The 26-County Taoiseach Enda Kenny was joined on Saturday by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and a host of government officials for the open ing of the 15 million pound footbridge, which the Dublin government helped to fund.
Hundreds of people lined both sides of the River Foyle for the celebrations, which were marked by schoolchildren singing an anthem composed to mark the occasion.
European Union commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn carried out the official opening. He said the bridge would help establish lasting prosperity. “It will encourage greater levels of peace and reconciliation tor the city,” he said.
The bridge which links Derry’s Guildhall with the former Ebrington British army barracks was built in an S-shape to signify a handshake across the river.
Among the guests at the official opening was former Nobel peace laureate John Hume. He said the crowds turning out showed what a great thing the bridge was for the city.
Mr McGuinness said the new bridge was an “iconic” structure and a declaration of intent by all the people of Derry.
“We are seeing the beginning of what is a whole new opportunity for this city,” he said.
Mr Robinson said the bridge and surrounding developments were hugely exciting and enabled people to see Derry from a new perspective.
“This is a bright brand new day for the city and hopefully there will be many more of them in the future,” he said.
Derry mayor Maurice Devenney said the bridge would help bring the city’s communities together.
“The peace bridge reflects the positive way in which our city is moving forward as we prepare to celebrate our unique history, culture and heritage in preparation for the UK City of Culture 2013,” he said.