The Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has defended channelling further monies to the North West in the wake of Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 despite straitened times and tightened belts across the Northern Ireland arts sector.
Lagan Valley MLA Basil McCrea asked if pouring further monies to the North West by way of legacy funding had provided value for money.
Ms Ní Chuilín replied: “Evidence from European Cities of Culture demonstrates that continued support and investment is required to fully achieve benefits associated with hosting a City of Culture year. In November 2013, I made a commitment to maximising the successful impact of City of Culture 2013 by seeking additional funding to support further socio economic development in the North West, an area which continues to suffer from significant deprivation and inequality.
“My Department has secured more than £6m of funding through in year monitoring round bids from January 2014 to date to meet this commitment.
“My Department’s focus on the North West reflects the need to support innovative solutions to positively impact the lives of those most in need. I am committed to harnessing opportunities presented following City of Culture 2013 in parallel with supporting the core infrastructure of our creative and cultural sector.”
Three years ago the Minister state that wages must rise, jobs must be created in poorer areas, the city must be more equal, there must be better relations between Protestants and Catholics and people must be happier to live here otherwise Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 will have been a failure.
The Minister said the impact of the first ever UK City of Culture will be measured between 2013 and 2020 and specific targets have to be met.