Eastwood seeks meeting with Apprentice Boys of Derry

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA has requested a meeting with the Apprentice Boys of Derry after concerns have been raised over a band’s attendance at the Relief of Derry celebrations in the City on Saturday.

Mr Eastwood was speaking after the PSNI reported one band over behaviour and symbols displayed during the Relief of Derry commemoration parade in the city on Saturday.

The Clydevalley Flute Band from Larne said on Saturday via its own social media that the issue had centred on a paratroop regiment motif on their uniforms.

Mr Eastwood said: “Derry has been a model of respect, reconciliation and leadership when it comes to parading. Communities have sought to secure mutual accommodation, even when relationships have been tense.

“It is a matter of profound regret that a band chose to march on the streets of this city displaying a motif of the Parachute Regiment on their uniform. This has caused deep hurt and distress to many victims in Derry.

“The Apprentice Boys need to understand how people feel about this. They need to listen to the voices of those who have been hurt.

“We have requested a meeting with the Apprentice Boys to convey the very real pain that people are feeling and to help them understand the effect that this decision has had on community relations in our city. It is my sincere hope that we can return to the space of accommodation, understanding and respect.”