British peer: Neglect of Derry 'a real stain on the reputation of the UK'

Andrew Adonis: appalled by neglect of Derry.
Andrew Adonis: appalled by neglect of Derry.

A cross-bench peer in the British House of Lords has described the underdevelopment of Derry over almost a century of unionist, and later, direct rule from London, as "a real stain on the reputation of the United Kingdom."

Andrew Adonis who served in the Labour administrations of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the 2000s issued a blistering attack on the old Stormont regime and the succession of Northern Ireland Office (NIO) caretakers that followed its collapse for what he characterised as the deliberate neglect of Derry for most of the lifetime of the Northern Ireland State.

"I am appalled what I’ve learned recently about neglect of Derry-Londonderry by Northern Ireland govts & UK govt during direct rule," he declared via his Twitter feed.

"No university by Unionist design; no decent roads & railways (ditto); deep alienation & lack of opportunity. A real stain on reputation of the UK," he observed.

Mr. Adonis, who takes the title Baron Adonis in the British House of Lords, was referring to the Lockwood report of 1965 that recommended a second university in the North be sited in Coleraine rather than Derry, and both the Benson (1963) and Wilson (1965) reports, which dealt, respectively, with the reduction of railways in the west and the centralisation of industrial development around Belfast.

His forthright comments were met with hostility from unionists including one of the last ministers to serve under the old Stormont regime, John Taylor.

Mr. Taylor, who takes the title Lord Kilclooney in the British House of Lords, responded: "Sorry you believe nationalist propaganda. Ask them what was the recommendation of the Lockwood Committee; who was Lockwood; was he an Ulster Unionist or an independent English Academic etc etc Was his recommendation for the site of the university: Coleraine; Armagh or LDerry?"