Eagerly awaited summer trade in Derry took a costly hit as the Orange Order celebrated the Twelfth of July in the city centre.
However, the slow business cannot simply be blamed on the Orange demonstrations being held in Derry, says City Centre Manager Jim Roddy.
Having spoken to retailers as well as hospitality and service providers, the City Centre Initiative boss said the downturn in trade on Friday last appeared to be the result of a number of factors.
“People traditionally have stayed away from the city centre on parade days because of fear and that is something we are trying hard to get away from.
“It’s disappointing that there wasn’t more trade in the city. There were shops closed in the Ferryquay Street and Diamond areas but trade wasn’t only slow in the areas where the parade took place. Having spoken to traders in different parts of the city who did open for business, the feedback was that trade was down for a number of reasons - the good weather, the beginning of a bank holiday weekend, the schools being off and civil service workers being off. The only thing to conclude is that trade was slow for an amalgamation of reasons.”
But Mr Roddy said Friday was a success story in a different way. “It was a good day for the city in that it was yet another peaceful parading event in Derry. For that so many different groups must be commended, it didn’t just happen by chance.”
A total of 5,000 people took part in the parade in Derry on Friday, with thousands more watching the spectacle.
Derry’s Mayor Councillor Martin Reilly, praised the people of the city for displaying what he described as “cool heads and respect”. “I wish the example shown by all those in Derry could have been replicated elsewhere,” he added.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said City of Derry Orange Order Grand Master James Hetherington, had shown “wisdom” with his words that: “Londonderry or Derry men like to sit down and talk.”
PSNI G District Chief Superintendent Stephen Martin said Derry “can act as an example and a beacon to other areas” in terms of hosting peaceful parades.