A suggestion that the Fountain/Bishop Street peace wall should be raised in the wake of last week’s disorder was roundly rejected by nationalist and republican councillors at a special meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Councillors baulked at calls by unionist representatives for the peace wall to be raised in the wake of seven nights of trouble in the run up to the loyalist ‘Twelfth’ celebrations.
UUP Alderman Derek Hussey said a physical solution to the issues at the interface and in the vicinity of the Apprentice Boys of Derry’s Memorial Hall at Society Street and Magazine Street might need to be considered.
Moving that “this Council requests options to be considered subsequent to the problems posed at the Bishop Street boundary of the Fountain Estate and that section of the City Walls adjacent to Society Street and Magazine Street in the past immediate period,” he said physical issues needed to be addressed in the area just as much as at the derelict Meenan Square shopping block below in the Bogside.
His proposal won support from DUP Alderman Graham Warke who said senior members of his party including leader Arlene Foster had been advised by some residents of the Fountain that they would like the peace wall to be raised to ensure their future protection. Sinn Féin and the SDLP declared themselves opposed to any such physical or security focused approach, however, warning that the heightening of fences beween communities was not the way forward.
An amendment to Ald. Hussey’s motion tabled by Sinn Féin Colr. Mickey Cooper, asking that “all relevant organisations be consulted on finding solutions to events that have recently occurred along a section of the City Walls and the Bishop Street/Fountain interface” ultimately passed with cross-community support.