Independent republican Gary Donnelly was unapologetic over his decision to walk out of a specially convened meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council on Friday in protest at the presence of a senior Derry police officer.
Colr. Donnelly walked out of the meeting, which had been called to allow various statutory agencies brief councillors on the emergency response to the recent floods, when Chief Inspector Alan Hutton was called on to outline Strand Road’s role.
“It’s very simple,” said Colr. Donnelly, after the meeting.
“As a republican I see the PSNI as defending the British state and interests in this part of Ireland and they were there regarding the floods.”
Colr. Donnelly added: “You had a PSNI member in there armed with a handgun. I don’t think they should have had a place in there.”
Independent unionist Maurice Devenney criticised Colr. Donnelly over the protest.
He said: “A lot of us can go through our lives and not need the police but whether it be if there’s a car accident, a burglary or some sort of violence, you know I don’t know what Gary Donnelly would do if there was an incident like that.
“What would he do if there was something that happened and he had to rely on the police? Ultimately that’s what they’re there for, to protect people and to keep people safe, no matter who you are.”