Derry must accept ‘British’ identity: MP

The DUP's Gregory Campbell.

The DUP's Gregory Campbell.

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Derry has to get to grips with public expressions of ‘British-unionist” identity, the DUP’s Gregory Campbell has said.

The East Derry MP’s remarks follow this month’s annual Apprentice Boys’ ‘Relief of Derry’ parade in the city.

Mr. Campbell praised those who worked to ensure the parade and the accompanying Maiden City Festival were “such a success.”

He said: “The events that went on under the auspices of the festival were well supported and they made a significant impact on bringing visitors into Londonderry. The parade itself was very well attended and those who participated and watched were in very good spirits.”

Mr. Campbell pointed out that, as the parade made its way back into the city centre later in the evening, the “beginnings of violence in the Bogside” became apparent.

“However, they did not spoil the day or the week,” he insisted. “They are carrying out acts of hijacking, petrol bombing and violent protest with the same lack of success that others did in years gone by.

“They just don’t get it. Larger scale violence in the past did not prevent the Protestant community from commemorating their cultural heritage, so why do they think this will?

“Hopefully, after a few more years have elapsed, the pointlessness of their activities will dawn on them.

“Just as we, in the unionist community, have to live with their Irish nationalist expressions of identity, so, too, will they have to learn with our British unionist expressions. It really is not too difficult to grasp.”