Greater 'nationalist leadership' needed after cancellation of youth conference, says Middleton

Gary Middleton with party leader Arlene Foster.
Gary Middleton with party leader Arlene Foster.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton has called for greater 'nationalist leadership' after a Derry youth club pulled out of an engagement event which was due to be attended by the PSNI yesterday.

Mr. Middleton, who is also a member of the Policing Board said: “The cancellation of this event is the latest example of a very worrying trend within Londonderry.

"Police recruitment events have been cancelled in the city and I am aware of schools coming under pressure not to allow the PSNI to visit to speak to pupils.

"We are continually told about 'micro-groups' who have no support yet we now see an event scheduled for the main civic building of our city cancelled due to threats of protest.

"Those who claim to speak on behalf of the overwhelming majority of nationalists and republicans in Londonderry need to step forward and demonstrate the leadership they are so ready to demand from others.

"The Chief Constable has previously talked about the need for nationalism to take 'another step in terms of policing'. The cancellation of this event demonstrates the need for leadership is greater than ever."

The chair of the Policing Board Anne Connolly, meanwhile, said: “It is important that young people and the wider community are free to engage openly and freely with their local police, and other organisations which have an influence on their lives.

"There are no circumstances where anyone should prevent such engagements and the Board condemns any attempt to do so. We are committed to working with the PSNI and the community to ensure that people continue to engage with the police, and feel safe in doing so.”