THE Minister of State for Northern Ireland visited Coleraine last week to lend his support to the ongoing community cohesion, peace-building and good relations work that is being facilitated by Coleraine Borough Council.
Hugo Swire MP was greeted at civic headquarters in Cloonavin by the Deputy Mayor of Coleraine, Councillor William King along with Town Clerk and Chief Executive Roger Wilson.
Minister Swire’s busy itinerary included a tour of the town centre to view the Environmental Improvement Scheme, where significant progress has already been made in enhancing the physical infrastructure of the town.
This was followed by a trip to the nearby Market Yard site to receive an update on Council’s plans for a future shared space, where groups and individuals can meet and reconnect with their past through the use of history.
Speaking during the morning’s tour of Coleraine town centre, the Deputy Mayor spoke of Council’s good relations work: “Council’s Community Cohesion Strategy is about people living respectfully side by side and having an active role in the vitality and prosperity of the Borough.
“Our vision is that of a community where all citizens have a sense of pride and belonging in their area; are proud of their own faith and traditions, and are able to share these freely.”
As Coleraine Borough Council is also the lead partner in a six Council Cluster for the delivery of the PEACE III Programme in the North East, Minister Swire MP concluded his visit with an afternoon at Ballysally with members of the Ballysally Cultural and Heritage Group.
PEACE III aims to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and to promote reconciliation. This work complements a number of Council activities and the Minister met with young people currently engaged in re-imaging work in Ballysally.
Finally, Chairman of Ballysally Cultural and Heritage Group, Adrian Eakin, accompanied Minister Swire MP to view a new mural at Loughanhill Park, Ballysally.
This commemoration to the Somme in 1916 was created by the group of young people as part of their PEACE III programme.
Mr Swire praised the efforts of these young people to re-image the estate. Deputy Mayor King concluded the trip by thanking the Minister of State for coming to Coleraine and for showing his support to the borough.