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Bid to conserve and promote Derry walls - The Irish News
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Bid to conserve and promote Derry walls

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan launching the second edition of the Conservation Plan for the City Walls at the UNESCO Conference in Derry. Included, from left, are Martin Graham, Tourism NI, Roisin Doherty, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Edward Montgomery, The Honourable the Irish Society, Iain Greenway, Director, DoE Historic Environment Division, Manus Deery of the DoE, and Odhran Dunn from Visit Derry.
Seamus McKinney

THE Department of Environment are to relocate staff to help manage conservation of the city's historic walls, minister Mark H Durkan has revealed.

Mr Durkan told a United Nations cultural organisation (UNESCO) conference he intends basing staff from the DoE's historic environment division at offices at the former Ebrington military barracks. Derry's walls is the biggest historical monument in the north and annually attracts thousands of visitors to the city.

The minister also unveiled a “prosperity agreement” with the city's Inner City Trust to help convert environmental issues to business opportunities.

Mr Durkan launched the second phase of a conservation plan for the city's walls at the UNESCO conference in Derry. He told the conference Derry could be a template for other councils on how to best use heritage.

“We do not exploit our heritage nearly enough. Scotland for example creates three times the income and twice the number of jobs we do from it.

“That is why I have organised this conference in Derry today, inviting a major speaker from UNESCO who can help us maximise our potential,” Mr Durkan said.

The minister said a partnership and holistic approach was the best way to unlock historic potential.

“We can become recognised internationally as a place with heritage well worth seeing and where creative things are happening,” he said.

The second phase of Derry's walls conservation plan would ensure a new approach to the monument's development. Mr Durkan said the new agreement with the Inner City Trust would raise standards and encourage holistic management of the old city.

Helen Quigley from the Inner City Trust – which develops many of the older buildings within the old city – said the new agreement would help “cement” good management of the historic environment in Derry.

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