A special mural marking the history of women in Derry over the last century has been unveiled.

The bespoke mural charts key moments in local history including the days of female labour in the shirt factories, women’s rights, the civil rights campaign and the Troubles while celebrating the role women played in the city and its history.

The mural is part of a unique Good Relations focused project in the Brandywell area.

The initiative has been facilitated by the Peace III funded Building Relationships in Communities (bric) Programme, a unique collaboration between the Rural Development Council, Housing Executive and TIDES Training.

The artwork has been designed by the women from the Brandywell and is located at the site of a 200-year-old forge.

Attending the launch was the Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson, and other high profile women in the area.

Speaking at the event, former shirt factory worker and councillor, Mary Nelis, said: “This mural is a dedicated to the women who made Derry, who made the shirts, made the communities, passed the skills on to their children and grandchildren, particularly around this area because most of the women from here worked in the shirt factories.

“You can see the different phases of women’s lives, the different phases of women’s struggles, the different phases of women’s work and skills.

“It’s all in that mural and I think people will stop and look at it and take the message that the women of Derry are valued and appreciated.”

Ms Nelis added that she was disappointed at the lack of progress being made in the construction of the artist Louise Walsh’s sculpture aimed at marking the contribution of the city’s female shirt factory workers to the Derry economy.

“One of the reasons we decided to do the mural was because of the delay in facilitating the sculpture,” she said.

“We also wanted a dedicated building to the work of women in the shirt factories and the women who were the economic backbone of the city.

“It’s a very big disappointment that the agencies who were involved in that project have dragged their heels for so long.”

Speaking at the launch event, Rural Development Council (RDC) Chief Executive, Teresa Canavan, said: “Projects like this are an integral part of the bric Programme.

“They help ensure the legacy of those who strived and struggled to not only help themselves but to empower and enrich others are never forgotten.

“Instead, they are celebrated and this helps to ensure their impact on local, national and global history will never be forgotten.

“The bric Programme cultivates and builds community spirit.  These initiatives leave permanent reminders of just how important that spirit is and just what it can achieve in even the most difficult of circumstances.

“I want to congratulate all of those involved who helped to make sure the lives, events and situations highlighted by these projects are never forgotten.”

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