Justice minister explains ‘Londonderry’ Dail reference

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter. Photo credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter. Photo credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Ireland’s Justice Minister Alan Shatter has spoken out after coming under fire for calling the country’s fourth largest city ‘Londonderry’ during a debate in the Dail.

Mr Shatter waded into the 400 year-old name debate while speaking on anti-terrorist legislation.

While listing a number of attacks in the north, he referred to “two pipe bombs set off in Londonderry on 19 January.”

His use of the term ‘Londonderry ‘sparked much criticism online, with some Twitter users even calling for him to resign.

However, Mr Shatter said: “I would use either the term Derry or Londonderry interchangeably - it’s used by the two different communities in Northern Ireland.

“The Catholic community refers to Derry, the Protestant community refers to Londonderry.

“It’s a place that I want to see live in peace and I don’t have hang-ups about which name you attach to it.

“I tend to use Derry more frequently than Londonderry, simply because of my interest in soccer and catching up with Derry City on occasions.”