Derry/Londonderry capital of culture name row

Image caption,
Part of the lumiere festival during Derry's 2013 UK City of Culture celebrations

A row has erupted between councillors regarding the joint bid by Londonderry and Belfast to become European Capital of Culture 2023.

The row broke out during a Derry City and Strabane District Council meeting on Thursday over proposed branding that referred to "Derry and Belfast".

The DUP said the name "Londonderry" should be included because of its "cultural significance".

Sinn Féin opposed that move. Belfast City Council said it would not comment.

'Out of touch'

DUP Councillor David Ramsey said: "This is a city bid and because it's not a council bid the name Londonderry needs to be included.

"It's very disappointing for the unionist community.

"I can't understand why this became an issue. I asked early on why Londonderry wasn't included.

"Sinn Féin's out of touch here. Londonderry is the official name. We have never had an issue with Derry-Londonderry before.

"It's a step back when it comes to our diverse history and it's a major asset for tourism."


Image caption,
Sinn Féin's Michael Cooper was a private sector director of the City of Culture in 2013 in Derry

Sinn Féin councillor Michael Cooper said: "We have to put this in front of an adjudicating panel. It's already confusing having two cities in the title.

"Going to a bid with more names in the title would be a confusing situation."

Image caption,
Belfast's Titanic recently came out on top of a poll of world travel attractions

The joint bid for European Capital of Culture between Derry and Strabane District Council and Belfast City Council was announced in February.

Other cities like Leeds and Dundee are also preparing bids.

The Derry-Belfast bid has to be submitted to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport at Westminster by October this year.

The winner will be announced in late 2018.

A document obtained by the BBC concerning the joint bid from Derry and Belfast said that an "ambitious and robust bid" will cost between £500,000 and £1m.

Hosting the year-long programme of events can bring increased investment, create jobs and boost the local economy.

Three non-EU cities have held the title in the past - Istanbul in 2010, Stavanger in Norway in 2008 and Reykjavik, Iceland, in 2000.

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