Launch Event - Dublin 5th February 2018
On 5th February, Futureproof Northwest was officially launched in the Harcourt Hotel, Dublin. Futureproof Northwest has been established to provide a network for people from the northwest city region of Ireland, the city of Derry and its hinterland, who are primarily based in Dublin and to connect them.
Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for European Affairs, delivered the opening address at the launch. Minister of State McEntee commented on the importance of connectivity as an island nation and spoke on how Ireland benefitted from EU membership, evolving from an inward looking country on the edge of Europe to a country in the centre of the world and one of the best examples of progressive smaller nations in EU. Minister of State McEntee described the EU as being a peace project at its heart, bringing people and countries together based on common interests. She remarked on how the single market and shared custom union allowed physical barriers on the island of Ireland to naturally disappear and helped to allow the Good Friday Agreement to come to fruition.
Minister of State McEntee reaffirmed the Irish Government’s commitment to communicate with its citizens as Europe develops and encouraged further engagement from community led initiatives such as Futureproof Northwest. She observed that wherever we are in the world, we always have a soft spot for home and try to ensure that our hometown and region is prospering. As an organisation, Futureproof Northwest will strive to provide opportunities for those who have left the Northwest and will aim to generate positive change for all those still based in the region.
Sean Downey, a founding member of Futureproof Northwest and a Derry native based in Dublin, gave an overview of the organisation and of the events planned for the year, including a summer barbeque and winter dinner dance. These events will provide local businesses with an opportunity to showcase their organisation. Futureproof Northwest will also provide a platform for engagement on sport, heritage and cultural matters. Sean introduced 21 year old Gemma Bradley as Futureproof Northwest’s cultural ambassador, a rising star from Draperstown in County Derry whose debut single ‘Wicker Man’ was voted best song in the 2014 Irish Youth Music Awards. Gemma closed the evening by performing a number of songs, including her latest release ‘Berserk’.
The launch event generated interest amongst Leinster based diaspora and had representatives from both Derry City and Strabane District Council as well as Visit Derry who had been very supportive of the Futureproof Northwest initiative.
Further information on what we are about and how you can get involved with Futureproof Northwest can be found on the association’s website, www.futureproofnorthwest.com.