£500m spin-off predicted for Derry's year as city of culture


An economic spin-off of up to £500 million (€610 million) has been predicted for Derry’s year as the UK city of culture in 2013.

Derry City Council chief executive Sharon O’Connor said the estimate was based on expected visitor numbers, job creation and a more positive image for the city, which could lead to longer-term investment.

More than one million visitors are expected to visit Northern Ireland’s second city during the inaugural UK city-of-culture tenure and £100 million has been pumped into projects since the title was won.

Derry was recently nominated by the Lonely Planet travel guide as one of 10 cities to visit in 2013.

Although events are scheduled to take place from next week, the official opening concert takes place on January 20th at the purpose-built pavilion at Ebrington, a former British army barracks. Entitled “Sons and Daughters”, the free concert will feature many of Derry’s most successful entertainers, including Phil Coulter, the Undertones and Dana, as well as Paul Brady, who is from Strabane.

Other programme highlights include a new production by American playwright Sam Shepard, the return of the Field Day theatre company with three new productions, and the Return of Colmcille river event, designed by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who scripted the London Olympics opening ceremony.

The Derry-Londonderry 2013 team has also attracted high-profile events to the northwest that are expected to yield dividends for the local economy.

The Turner Prize ceremony will take place outside England for the first time. In addition, the All-Ireland Fleadh will move across the Border while the Other Voices festival will move from Dingle for a year.

While £98 million has been predicted in extra wages and profits, Ms O’Connor said the educational and social legacy was “priceless”.

She added: “We are giving our young children an opportunity to see futures for themselves that in other circumstances they might never have been able to imagine.”