Derry people gather at damaged City of Culture office in bomb protest

Wed, 12/10/2011 - 23:16 -- Editor

Hundreds of Derry people gathered outside the City of Culture offices in Guildhall Square this afternoon to protest against last night’s bomb attack.

The explosion, which caused extensive damage to the outside and interior of the building, went off at 10.45pm after a local community representative received a coded bomb warning. Police evacuated the scene and the bomb detonated as army bomb disposal units were enroute.

Derry’s Mayor Maurice Devenney, alongside City of Culture staff and members of Derry City Council assessed the extensive damage to the interior of the building this afternoon.

Both the large windows cracked but did not shatter. The side door was blown off it’s hinges and lies in twisted pieces on the floor amongst the scattered flyers and booklets promoting various cultural happenings in the city. The offices shutters were mangled and twisted in the blast and a section of the roof has fallen down. There are large holes in several of the walls, which were badly damaged by flying debris.

Commenting on the bomb attack, Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin condemned the attack.

“Economically right across the world, times are tough and in the North West, times are particularly tough.  The one thing that Derry does have to look forward to, that will bring investment, that will bring tourism, that will bring jobs – is the City of Culture.

“There are so many people involved in working to ensure that this is a progressive city with so much opportunity and so much to offer. This callous act is an attempt to destroy all of that good work and all of the efforts made by so many to improve life here. Thankfully no-one was injured but it is only a matter of time before these mindless people kill police or civilians.

“Last night’s attack is not an attack on police; it’s an attack on the hopes and prospects of people of this city and the shame of it all is that is was probably carried out by people from this city. 

“I would ask for sensible voices to prevail.  I ask anyone for anyone with information on this attack or anyone who may have been in the area and noticed suspicious behaviour to contact CID at Strand Road on 0845 600 8000, alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.”

Meanwhile the Chairman of Culture Company 2013, Martin Bradley, says that the City of Culture team will continue to work hard on their plans for the city’s year of celebration.

“The City of Culture team are committed to producing the biggest cultural festival these islands have ever seen. Culture Company staff were back at their desks this morning working towards a fantastic year of celebration in 2013. We are building something special in this city, something that will benefit all the people of Derry-Londonderry.

“We have been overwhelmed by the level of support we have received from all quarters following the incident at our office last night. Community organisations, businesses and stakeholders from across our city and beyond have let us know that they are fully behind City of Culture, and we would like to thank the hundreds of organisations and individuals who made contact to offer their support.”

“City of Culture is a project that stands to benefit everyone in this city and we are more than happy to talk to anybody who feels they have issues with our project. As we move towards one of the most exciting times in our city’s recent history we are determined to continue with our plans to create a joyful and wholly inclusive celebration of our city’s cultural identity.”