Jobs risks in Derry are growing with each bomb attack in the city, a local business leader has warned.
The massive disruption caused by Thursday night’s twin bomb attacks in the city has heaped further misery on already struggling businesses. Foyleside shopping centre was closed following the attacks and the area around it including car parks remained cordoned off for much of friday morning.
The manager of Foyleside, Fergal Rafferty, told the ‘Sunday’: “There was serious disruption to traffic due to road closures, which had a serious negative impact on trade and business throughout the city centre.”
With many retailers, in particular, enduring difficult times Sinead McLaughlin, Chief Executive of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, said the bombers had no regard for the people or economy of the city.
“The bombs are an economic attack on the people of the city: the perpetrators’ desired outcome is to destroy the economy and our children’s future. More businesses are put at risk of closure every time there are bomb attacks of this kind - and such economic damage cannot possibly contribute towards the creation of a united Ireland.
“The bomb attacks on Derry demonstrate the contempt that the dissidents have for each and every citizen of this city.”
She added: “The action by the dissidents is a clear attempt to reduce the chances of unemployed people in this city obtaining the jobs that they need to have a better quality of life – including young people in economically distressed areas, such as Creggan, the Bogside, Brandywell, Shantallow and Galliagh.”
Ms McLaughlin said that because dissident republicans bombers had chosen to exclude themselves from the political process that “they have no voice and certainly no mandate”.
And she condemned them for chosing to “hold our people to ransom”.
She added: “Our society wants to move on, we are engaged in an agreed democratic process and this is light years away from our troubled past.”
Ms McLaughlin also paid tribute to the “tremendous resilience and outstanding leadership” shown by the people of Derry in the face terror.
“The city is committed to working together to build a brighter future,” she said.
“We will be redoubling our efforts and we remain focused on developing business opportunities, promoting the creative and digital economy, building a robust cultural infrastructure and bringing jobs to the city. Those that continue to perpetuate such reckless behaviour upon the community in Derry have no regard for this city or its people. Those who bomb Ireland lose their right to claim any love for our wonderful island.”