Factory Girls Public Artwork: Planning Finally Submitted

Factory girls working in Derry.

The decision was announced at the monthly Derry City & Strabane District Council meeting on Thursday evening.

The 10-year project and delays in completing the artwork, which will pay tribute to the women who fueled Derry’s economy and put the city on the map for more than a century of making clothes in dozens of factories and in cottage industries across the city, county and in Donegal and parts of West Tyrone.

Cork artist Louise Walsh and former Sinn Fein MP Foyle Maeve McLaughlin were praised at the Guildhall meeting for their tenacity in seeing the project through many hurdles to the planning stage.

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Thanking Ms Walsh and Ms McLaughlin for their hard work, Sinn Fein Councilor Sandra Duffy said: ‘This project has lasted 10 years and it is certainly a big step forward in marking the women who, through their courage and their determination, have built our city and communities.

Louise Walsh was commissioned by the Department of Social Development to advance the Factory Girls public art project in 2006.

The ornate multi-piece public artwork was later designed by Ms Walsh in conjunction with local former factory workers and was originally designed to be located at the King Street roundabout near the site of Ebrington in the Waterside.

However, various issues with the site ruled out this location and the sculpture project has since been assigned to a larger site in Harbor Square behind the Guildhall and facing the Peace Bridge, but plans were also stalled here for several years as a result of problems with underground infrastructure and other site issues.

Factory workers walking along the street in Derry.
Factory workers walking along the street in Derry.

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