The day to day management of the Derry’s walls will be based in the city for the first time with the appointment of a Derry walls manager.
The post, which is to be filled by local woman Aisling Gallagher, marks a milestone in the care and development of the historic structure, which is the largest upstanding monument in state care in the North.
It is hoped having locally based management of the walls will improve responsiveness to issues as they arise and, as innovative uses and visitor numbers continue to grow, help to ensure that events are well coordinated and necessary permits are dealt with quickly.
Tasks such as dealing with weeds, graffiti and seasonal issue works will also be overseen, as will the monitoring activity of the existing Walls Wardens.
Ms Gallagher, will report to the multi-agency Walls Management Group which has been coordinating management of the monument since 2009.
She will also be tasked with developing and coordinating further initiatives to help ensure that the Monument can reach its full potential as a community asset and visitor attraction.
The Department for Communities is supporting the City Centre Initiative to develop this post.
Aisling Gallagher said: “City Centre Initiative has worked closely with the Department for Communities, and members of the Derry Walls Management Group over the years to ensure our city Walls are well maintained and managed. I believe my role of Walls Manager sits well within the company, alongside the ongoing role of our City Centre Wardens.”
She said the historical significance and economic potential of the walls are ‘immeasurable’.
“The Walls are extremely important to the economy of the city, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Their historical significance and economic potential are immeasurable. With an increase in events taking place on the Derry Walls, there is now a strong need for local management to work closely with event organisers to ensure the safe delivery of future events. I will work to encourage more local involvement in the management of activities on the walls which will have a greater benefit to the city.”
Iain Greenway, Director of the Historic Environment Division of DfC, said: “It has become increasingly important that the management of the monument is responsive to issues and is well coordinated. This is best achieved through a local and dedicated manager.”