12 January 2016
Next week local businesses will have the opportunity to attend a special event to find out how they can get involved in the massive Clipper Race 2015-16 homecoming celebrations set to take over Derry in July 2016.
This is the third time the city has been asked to host one of the stopover visits in what has become one of the most significant global sporting events, followed by millions worldwide – the Clipper Race.
In 2014 the Foyle Maritime Festival generated visitor numbers of almost 150,000, as the riverside was thronged with spectators who greeted the arrival of the 12 strong Clipper 70 fleet.
This year’s festival will take place from July 9 – 17, and will include a packed programme of both quayside and river based events, presenting major opportunities for local businesses particularly those in the tourism and hospitality sectors, but open to all sectors.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion commented “Our partnership with Clipper Ventures has been of major significance for the local economy, providing the opportunity for us to stage a world class festival and be a part of a major global sporting event.
“It has opened us up to new audiences and, building on the success of the previous two homecoming events, we have the opportunity to attract even more visitors this year. I would recommend that all local businesses find out more about the programme and their chance to play an active role in what promises to be the biggest event in the North West for 2016.”

In 2014 the Foyle Maritime Festival generated £3,183,208 throughout the city and district, providing a significant boost to the local economy.clipper

13th January

Two leading creative companies based in Derry have joined forces as part of a global expansion by Wurkhouse.

Creative design company Blue Splat has been subsumed by the rapidly growing Wurkhouse in a merger deal which will see an investment of £1m and job creation in Derry.

The fusion of the digital firms is regarded as having cemented the Wurkhouse stable as the largest creative agency in the North West.

As a result of the merger Wurkhouse now employs 16 people at its Derry base in the Northern Ireland Science Park’s Innovation Centre.

As part of a £1m investment, the firm has plans to rapidly expand its Derry workforce in the next three years through sustained growth, particularly in export markets, notably in the US.

Managing Director Andy Sheen, founder and former director of Blue Splat, describes the merger as “a perfect fusion of skills under the roof of a truly complete creative agency”.

“Our headquarters in Northern Ireland is buzzing with creativity and digital know-how. Our new office in London is ready to go and our New York office is set to open for business in early 2016 – setting in motion our big push to expand our export capabilities to the US. We currently have a great team of people at our headquarters in Derry and our three year plan for growth envisages doubling our workforce here by 2019,” he adds.

Wurkhouse is currently in the process of acquiring a company in the US as part of its expansion programme.

“We are actively working on other mergers and acquisitions and hope to close something in the US in the coming months as we push to expand into that market,” he explains.

Wurkhouse has its headquarters in The Innovation Centre, Northern Ireland Science Park, Derry. The company creates, develops and markets brands both online and offline.

7th January

The announcement that Ryanair will open a new base at Belfast International Airport has been warmly welcomed.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “The announcement that Ryanair will open a new base is very positive news for Belfast International Airport and for the whole of Northern Ireland. Ryanair’s decision to base three aircraft at Belfast International Airport sends a very positive message that Northern Ireland has a lot to offer airlines and Belfast International Airport is to be congratulated on securing this important investment.

“Ryanair’s new Gatwick service will be important for both business and leisure passengers and I am encouraged by the airline’s intention to open five additional new routes before the end of 2016. This investment by Ryanair is not only important for Northern Ireland’s connectivity; it will also result in the generation of new jobs and revenue.”

The Minister continued: “I have met with Ryanair to discuss route opportunities and will continue to take a keen interest in how we can maximise this important investment by both Ryanair and Belfast International Airport. Air connectivity is an important driver for economic growth and I have a strong commitment to developing the economy through prioritising business travel and inbound tourism connectivity for Northern Ireland. Work to progress an Air Route Development Fund for Northern Ireland is ongoing and I intend to be in a position to announce the way forward before the end of the financial year.”


06 January 2016

Visit Derry, in partnership with Derry City & Strabane District Council, Foyle Port and the Loughs Agency preparing for a busy year of marketing the destination and this year’s Foyle Maritime Festival, starting with exhibiting at the London Boat Show, 8th – 17th January 2016.

The countdown is on to the highly anticipated Clipper Round the World Yacht Race stopover and Foyle Maritime Festival which will be hosted in the city from 9th – 17th July 2016 and the London Boat Show is the ideal platform to kick start the festival’s promotional campaign to a captive audience with a keen interest in sailing.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion says the London Boat Show provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the festival and the city and district as a tourism and maritime destination. “The Boat Show attracts a huge audience of people who are interested in maritime activity and is the ideal location for us to promote our tourism offering, our maritime facilities and our up and coming Foyle Maritime Festival.”

John Pollock, CEO Loughs Agency, welcomes the prospect of Clipper returning to the Foyle, and Captain Bill McCann, Harbour Master at Foyle Port also commented “There is no doubt that the city’s Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Stopover and Foyle Maritime Festival has firmly established itself as one of the best in-port events on the global Clipper circuit. We look forward to welcoming the race and festival back to Foyle Port Marina this summer.”



Mayor, Cllr Elisha McCallion welcomed home local Diaspora who are living and working away from home and who travelled back to with family over the festive time, to be her guests at a special reception in the Guildhall on 22nd December.

The event was part of the Mayors new Diaspora initiative, aimed at reconnecting with the Diaspora community across the world and inviting them to come home, share their experiences and help to tell the region’s positive new story.

The Mayor opened up her chambers to local people who had travelled home from Rome, Florida, Miami, Canada and parts of the UK as they enjoyed a warm welcome from her over mulled wine and mince pies.

The event was a huge success and the Mayor is hopeful that it can become an annual event.

Local diaspora are encouraged to register they contact details at diaspora@derrystrabane.com so that they can be kept informed of forthcoming Council events and initiatives.

09 December 2015

dcc newsThe Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, invited pupils from across local areas to a special event highlighting how our young people can get involved in the bid for the title of European Youth Capital 2019.

A successful EYC 19 bid will highlight the council area as one of Europe’s most progressive and enlightened places for young people to live, and speaking after the event, Mayor McCallion said she was keen to engage local school children in the campaign.

“To secure the title of European Youth Capital would be a fantastic opportunity for the city and district, and I really want to see local young people actively involved as champions in this campaign.

“Our district has a very young population and we hope to gauge their ideas and vision for the bid, which will ultimately inform the development of youth policies in locations across Europe.

8th December

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell has welcomed Invest Northern Ireland’s latest performance figures.

Speaking after the publication of today’s figures, Jonathan Bell said: “Invest NI was set new and stretching targets as part of the one year extension to the Programme for Government. This latest performance update shows they are well on track to deliver against, and in some cases exceed, the revised targets.

“By supporting local businesses to grow, and attracting new investors, Invest NI has helped promote over 39,000 new jobs across Northern Ireland over the last four and a half years.”
“Invest NI’s support over the last four and a half years has leveraged over £3.6bn of investment into the Northern Ireland economy. This is the result of businesses investing in research and development, recruiting new staff and upskilling their existing workforce as well as purchasing new machinery or equipment to make the business more efficient all of which is vital to ensure we remain ahead of the competition in this highly competitive global market place.”

OneSource Virtual’s new European Service Centre was officially opened in Derry by the deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA and Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen MLA, representing the First Minister.

OneSource Virtual is a Texas-based Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) provider offering HR outsourcing, IT outsourcing, finance and accounting outsourcing and consulting. The OSV North West office will support product offerings in the UK, including deployment, UK payroll and application management services.

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “OneSource Virtual Service Centre locating its European Service Centre in Derry is a huge vote of confidence in this City and its people.

“Despite fierce competition from other cities we attracted OneSource Virtual here. The Executive fully supported this project providing a £2.9million financial support package for the new jobs and training.

“The 289 posts announced in July will pay in excess of £30,000 per year and will benefit the local economy by £11.8million pounds annually. The company is working hard to build its team with 42 people already hired and completing an intense 12 week initial training programme. OneSource Virtual is also launching their next round of hiring for 45 vacancies today, all of which come with the opportunity to learn new skills and earn a very good salary.”

“Directly and indirectly the people of the City and wider North West will feel the benefit of this cash injection. I wish OneSource Virtual, current and future employees every success for the future.”

Wesley Bryan, co-founder, president and COO of OneSource Virtual said: “By establishing our European operations centre here, we are in a stronger position to target opportunities within the UK and Europe, expand sales and ensure the future growth of our business.


Image by Press Eye
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Regional Development Minister, Michelle McIlveen are pictured with left to right: Bill Thomas Director, OneSource Virtual; Wesley Bryan, Co Founder and President of OneSource Virtual and Britt Wirt, Co Founder and Head of Strategy OneSource Virtual at the official opening of their new Service centre in Patrick Street, Derry.

03 December 2015

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Elisha McCallion is hopeful that Derry and Strabane District Council will develop a sister city relationship with Berkeley in the United States.

Speaking following a recent four-day visit to Berkeley and the wider San Francisco Bay area, Mayor McCallion said the meetings were extremely positive and she was quietly confident a formal arrangement between the two cities could be established.

She said: “Berkeley and Derry have very close connections and they are both very similar in terms of their history and outlook.  The trip last month was hugely successful and provided me with a great opportunity to further develop those links and connections and tap into their economy to identify new opportunities for investment, education and culture. Council will be attending the Sister Cities Summit in Dublin in the spring of next year to further pursue this proposal and we will also be extending an invitation to the Mayor of Berkeley and his team to visit Derry prior to the summit in an effort to further bridge the relationship between the cities.”

One of the positive outcomes of the trip was as a result of meetings with academics from the University of California, Berkeley, who agreed to send 20 of its students to the Ulster University’s Irish Language Summer School in 2016 and a further 30 students in 2017 and thereafter.

Dr Malachy Ó Néill, Head of the School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster University said that he was delighted to welcome the additional students to the growing international provision at Magee Campus.

During the trip, the Mayor met with Invest NI and their West Coast team to update them on recent developments in Derry.  The Mayor chaired a breakfast meeting with key members of the North West Diaspora in the Bay Area and also with a number of companies with potential investments into NI and Derry.  There were specific discussions with members of the Diaspora around stimulating philanthropic investment into initiatives such as a scholarship fund for US students to Derry/Strabane.

The visit very successful in forging real and positive links with Berkeley and it is hoped that this will bring new opportunities for Derry and Strabane in the months and years ahead.







The Isle of Man based company CityWing will begin operating twice-daily flights from City of Derry Airport to Dublin, by April 2016.

Derry to Dublin Flights The City of Derry airport submitted a successful application to the Department for Transport under the Regional Air Connectivity Fund, to support the new service from Derry to Dublin.

Speaking about the new service, Clive Coleman, Contracts Director for Regional & City Airports at CoDA stated, “This is very welcome news for the airport. The benefits of this new Dublin service, through enhanced inter-regional and international connectivity, to the local economy and travelling public are significant. Furthermore, they are aligned with the UK Government’s objectives of encouraging the growth of regional airports by making better use of their infrastructure, reducing the need for long-distance travel to and from airports, providing air passengers with greater choice and finally attracting new or more frequent international connections to attract new business activity to support the growth of a more balanced regional economy.

Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Raymond McCartney, said the news was a “welcome development”.
“This is a welcome development for Derry and the North West economy. Sinn Féin has long maintained that connectivity between Derry and the major centres of population including Dublin is crucial if we are to achieve our full potential for economic development.

Commenting on the news Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said, “It is great news that we will again have a direct flight connection between Derry and Dublin. It is particularly positive that there are to be two flights a day between the two cities. For businesses here it is essential that they have good transport links to the local capital cities of Dublin, London and Belfast. While more work still has to be done on our road links with Belfast and Dublin, a reliable and frequent flight connection with Dublin is a very important step forward for our members. We hope the new route will be followed by others and help to attract more investment to our city.”

Visit Derry’s General Manager, Odhran Dunne, also welcomed the news.
“Visit Derry, as the city’s official tourism organisation, recognises the importance of air connectivity to grow the tourism economy of the North West region. In global tourism terms air route development is vital if we are to enhance our reputation as one of the top leisure and business tourism destinations to visit on the island.

“The establishment of this double daily Dublin-Derry air route service will ensure stronger connectivity with the Greater Dublin catchment area and our international markets. The growth of inbound visitor numbers to the North West is supported by increasing direct air connectivity to the region.

“By continuing to invest in and develop our infrastructure the destination will create greater opportunities to use the unique assets of our people and the place to deliver a sustainable all year round tourism economy.”