Cold water poured on calls for British Army involvement in flood relief


Independent republican councillor Gary Donnelly poured cold water on suggestions the British Army should be deployed to help repair roads and bridges damaged by the floods last month.

Colr. Donnelly reacted angrily after fellow Independent, Patsy Kelly, referred to the deployment of the Irish Defence Forces to erect bailey bridges in Inishowen in the wake of the flooding, at a special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council on Friday.

The former SDLP councillor acknowledged the mobilisation of sappers from the "English army" across Derry and Strabane would prove controversial and suggested the Irish Army might be deployed instead.

Colr. Donnelly, however, described the intervention as a "silly attempt at being funny", which nonetheless "couldn't go unchallenged".

He said his constituents' collective experience of the British Army hadn't been one of bridges being built.

To this UUP Alderman, Derek Hussey, replied "rubbish".

Ald. Hussey later remarked how British forces were being deployed to assist British subjects affected by the hurricanes in the Caribbean and said they should also be deployed to assist British subjects in the local council area.

Colr. Donnelly, a long-standing critic of the PSNI and the devolution of policing and justice later left the meeting when Chief Inspector Alan Hutton was called upon to outline Strand Road's response to the floods.