‘So-called nationalists using language of the far right’

A number of councillors on Derry and Strabane council have warned of ‘far right’ agitation both online and on the streets of the district.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 2:43 pm
The new rainbow crossing along the quay in Derry's city centre.

The phenomenon was discussed at the council’s monthly meeting for September which took place on Thursday evening.

People Before Profit MLA Maeve O’Neill said: “The far right here and across the world bases itself on a mix of toxic ideologies with white nationalist, misogyny and homophobia, transphobia and racism, directing attention to whipping up divisions towards minorities and oppressed groups.”

Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly claimed he had witnessed some local people adopting the language of far right groups online in opposition to the LGBTQI+ rainbow crossing that was recently installed in the city centre.

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“I’ve had some tiffs on social media recently with some of these so-called nationalists locally. They are using the same language about cultural wars that these far right hate groups are using and I’ve seen it being used in relation to the crossing outside the Guildhall, for the argument against that.

“Whilst they are using the pretence of the cost to ratepayers, beneath it there is a palpable sense of homophobia and hate,” he declared.

Colr. O’Neill maintained: “We really must stand strong and stand united against all forms of hate and stand in solidarity with minorities and oppressed groups and be motivated to creating a fairer and more equal society, embracing the strength which diversity brings. That’s why Pride is really important.”

Colr. Donnelly said: “I think this needs to be opposed at every opportunity and it needs to be called out.”

Sinn Féin Deputy Mayor Christopher Jackson said: “It is disappointing to hear that there are people who still wish to promote hate within out council area.”

He added: “As a council we have a proud record of standing beside and behind our LGBTQ+ community and I have no doubt that that will continue in the years and months ahead.”