The Mayor of Derry and Strabane says last month's trade mission to US in conjunction with Donegal County Council was one of the highlights of 2017, and he looks forward to more such cooperation in 2018.
Mayor Maolíosa McHugh says there are reasons to be optimistic looking ahead to next year, but the year gone by was not without its disappointments.
Mayor McHugh has acknowledged the disappointment felt after it emerged the council would be unable to complete its bid for European Capital of Culture in partnership with Belfast. However, he repeated the promise that the momentum which had begun to build in the campaign will not be lost.
On a more positive note, Mayor McHugh says the launch in November of the Strategic Growth Plan, maps out the path to progress for the City and District until 2032, and he's looking forward to progress on the A5 and A6, the expansion of Ulster University's Magee campus, and the development of key sites in Derry and Strabane including Ebrington and the Riverine site.
In tandem with the Community Plan, Council has been working behind the scenes to secure a City of Growth Deal, and there have been positive discussions around this. He says he's hopeful that these will progress further in the New Year and looks forward to all the opportunities this will offer.