Derry’s long lost second city status: Gallagher

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New figures released by the Department of Finance at the end of August show Derry’s population has risen to 109,355 but a leading trade unionist says that’s stagnant at best, arguing we’ve long lost our second city status to Lisburn due to successive Executives’ failures.

Figures show that since 1981 Derry’s grown by 21 per cent (19,198) from 90,157 to 109,355.

But that lags far behind towns such as Banbridge (65 per cent), Lisburn (47 per cent) now 125,012, Magherafelt (42 per cent), Dungannon (38 per cent), Carrickfergus (36 per cent), Ards (36 per cent) and Newry and Mourne (33 per cent).

While Belfast has actually shrunk in population (-9 per cent) most of the growth’s been in the East.

Strabane’s even worse than Derry, for example. The population there grew by just 10 per cent (3,773) from 36,345 to 40,118 in the last 35 years.

Liam Gallagher, of Derry Trades Council said Lisburn, which now has a population of 125,012, outstripped Derry in 1989, and effectively became the second city when it was granted city status in 2002.

“Looking at the recent trend of job creation in Northern Ireland, comparing like with like, Derry has not even gotten a tenth, if we’ve even got that, of what Belfast and East of the Bann got.

“We’re not going back to a discrimination - East versus West thing - but it’s the reality, it’s an actual fact. The second city in Northern Ireland? By the way, you could dispute that now, whether or not Derry is the second city.

“Lisburn is now the second city. That’s where it’s at.”