‘DerryLondonderry’ row almost halts meeting

The chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) threatened to terminate Wednesday’s meeting after DUP MP, Gregory Campbell, clashed with Northern Ireland journalist and author, Susan McKay.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 5:24 pm

Ms. McKay appeared before the committee on Wednesday morning during which she was invited to answer questions on the subject of Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In response to a question put to her by another MP, Ms. McKay talked about how she was born in “Derry”.

A short while later, Chair of the committee, Simon Hoare, MP, invited Gregory Campbell to put his questions to Ms. McKay.

DUP MP for East Londonderry, Gregory Campbell, NIAC Chair, Simon Hoare, MP, and Northern Ireland journalist and author, Susan McKay.

“Good morning Ms. McKay - it’s good to hear you are speaking from Londonderry,” said Mr. Campbell. “I think Londonderry was what you meant to say but didn’t.”

Ms. McKay responded: “I am quite happy to refer to it as Londonderry if you want me to, Mr. Campbell.”

Mr. Campbell went on to question the authority with which Ms. McKay talks about Northern Ireland.

“You don’t live here and haven’t lived here for many years, I think that’s the bottom line,” said Mr. Campbell.,

Ms. McKay interrupted saying: “I never left Northern Ireland - I have lived for long periods in the North - what you have said is not the case.”

Mr. Campbell then asked Ms. McKay if she had written any books about the “utter decimation of the Protestant community from the west bank of the city?.”

Ms. McKay replied with a long list of examples of her work where she focused on how the Protestant community was “decimated by the IRA and other republican forces”.

Ms. McKay also referenced a section in her book ‘Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground’ where she wrote in great detail about Chairman of the Londonderry Band’s Forum, Kenny McFarland who about growing up in the cityside of Derry and the upheaval when he was suddenly brought from his school by his father to New Buildings.

Mr. Campbell then went on to ask Ms. McKay about a particular quote in one of her books.

Chair Simon Hoare, MP, interrupted Mr. Campbell saying: “If this goes on we will draw proceedings to a close.”