Healing and growing
By Paul Gosling
We have seen some very special things this week – and not just the Saville report
itself. We saw the inspiring dignity of the families of the killed and injured. We
saw the reaction of solidarity from the leaders of the Protestant churches. And
we saw the positive and caring side of the city coming to the fore. A lot of good
could come from the events of this week.
Events have given rise to a surge of optimism across the city. There is a
widespread sense that things can be achieved – even against massive odds. It is a
mood that we should relish and build from to make Derry an even better place in
which to live, work and be happy.
“This is a city that is now in the process of healing itself,” said Dr Norman
Hamilton, the new moderator of the Presbyterian Church, during his visit to the
That sense of healing is definitely in evidence. But spiritual healing is only one
element of the progress that needs to happen – we also need the material healing
of an improved economy that will generate more jobs and higher pay. While
strategies promoting our cultural tourism sector and the digital economy are
important, there is one initiative that stands out in offering a major boost for
economic growth and higher pay – university expansion.
University for Derry - U4D - is convinced that growing Magee is the single most
important thing that can be done to create jobs, to grow the economy and to
improve the culture and quality of life in the city. U4D is delighted that Derry City
Council and so many politicians, community groups, businesses, trade unions and
religious leaders are backing this initiative. This is the right moment for the
people of Derry-Londonderry to come together to make university expansion a
reality and to continue moving forward in the positive spirit that is characterising
It is a credit to the Bloody Sunday families, those people who stood with them
and for the city as a whole that the Saville Inquiry corrected an epic injustice. We
now need to correct a second injustice – a local economy that delivers too few
jobs and too little wealth.
"When the history of our recent conflict is written, at last it can say unequivocally
that all the Bloody Sunday dead and wounded were innocent. It should also tell
the remarkable story of a 38 year campaign for truth, by a dedicated and dignified
group of our fellow citizens, who are an example to us all. I salute them and all
who supported them in Derry, the rest of Ireland and the rest of the world. I look
forward to working towards the creation of a Peaceful, Prosperous and Proud City
for all our people." Phil O’Doherty, chief executive of E&I Engineering and
treasurer of U4D.
“It is wonderful that the Saville Inquiry has corrected an historic injustice by
publicly stating what all in the city knew, the innocence of all those murdered and
injured by the army that awful day. There is a mood in Derry this week that I have
never experienced before. There is a sense – a knowledge - that we can achieve a
lot as a city and as a community. That spirit can convert into a shared effort for
an improved local economy, to allow us to reset the course for a better future,
just as the Bloody Sunday relatives have reset the view of the true past for all the
world to see.” Padraig Canavan, chief executive of software engineering
company Singularity, and chair of U4D.
Paul Gosling is Co-ordinator, U4D.