Derry is on the build up to being the UK’s first City of Culture in 2013 but for the second time in a year the City of Culture office was the target for a bomb attack. The bomb went off at about 23:00 last night. A warning was received at about 21:45 and police had just cleared the area and an army bomb squad where on their way when the bomb went off.
This is a sickening and cowardly act which will not deter the people of the city from getting ready for it’s City of Culture year and I hope this won’t deter tourists travelling to Derry in the future. There was, however, some good news for the Derry.
Last week the Northern Ireland Executive announced that it has approved £27million of funding to begin work on upgrading the Derry to Coleraine railway line next year. It was originally scheduled to start in 2014 which would have been disastrous for the City of Culture year as one third of the train journeys would have been replaced by a bus service while safety work was carried out. The line will now be closed for nine months while the first phase of the upgrade is carried out and it is hoped that eight services a day will be running by April 2013.
A second piece of good news was announced today by the Environment Minister Alex Attwood. Wardens will be appointed to protect the Derry Walls from vandalism or damage. The walls were built between 1613-1619 and thousands of people every year. This initiative should help to increase the reputation of Derry as a friendly and welcoming city for tourists – even if cowardly terrorists try to destroy it.