Donegal politicians were among the thousands of people who flooded across Derry’s new Peace bridge when the symbolic structure was opened on Saturday.
The €14m structure links the city’s divided east and west banks and marks the beginning of the regeneration of the former army barracks at Ebrington in the Waterside.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny attended the official opening on Saturday along with the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh attended the opening along with outgoing Mayor Cora Harvey and county councillors Bernard McGuinness, Dessie Larkin and Mickey Doherty. County Manager Seamus Neely and Director of Community, Culture and Enterprise, Michael Heaney also attended the event.
Deputy McHugh said the opening of the bridge highlighted the normalisation of politics that has been going on across the border.
“To see at first hand the deputy first minister and first minister sharing the same platform and everyone singing from the same hymn sheet shows you how advanced the normalisation has come. It means that tangible projects like cross-border health care will now be realised because that normalisation is there and with the new radiotherapy centre at Althnagelvin, that will be tangible proof for a county like Donegal that we can share resources through a period of prosperity and work together for the benefit of the whole region.”
Cllr. Dessie Larkin, who is joint chair of the North West Partnership Group, said the existence of a vibrant city on Donegal’s doorstep could only be good for the county. “I think there is a dynamic and a synergy that has been create din Derry that has not been there for a long time. Critical mass plays such a key role and the fact the government has identified the Letterkenny-Derry access as a gateway in the national spatial strategy shows it saw the potential and I do thank that potential is coming alive. It can only be good on so many grounds: education, health, infrastructure and for selling the region.”