‘Republican row spilled into Fountain’

Derek Moore.
Derek Moore.

A loyalist community leader has suggested the recent attacks on the Fountain were essentially an overspill from the trouble that flared in the Bogside, which he characterised as an inter-republican row.

Derek Moore, a co-ordinator with the Londonderry Bands Forum, speaking in a personal capacity, said the attacks were reprehensible but not comparable with those endured in the past.

“We have attended meetings with all agencies in the town organised by Jim Roddy [City Centre Manager] and our line really is this is a Bogside problem basically between Sinn Féin and the dissidents/independents and their supporters,” he said.

Mr. Moore, who was pivotal in leading the loyalist bands community’s engagment with Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in 2013 and has been busy preparing the second New Gate Fringe Festival that will run in the Fountain in the run up to the ‘Derry Day’ celebrations on August 12, asked why such divisions persisted despite all the peace and neighbourhood renewal monies allocated to the areas affected.

He said he believed that what at core was a family feud within republicanism had impinged on Fountain residents living near the Bishop Street peace wall.

“It’s a nationalist problem that has had the unfortunate knock on problems for the Fountain,” he said.

Dispiriting though last week’s attacks were, he does not believe they represented a return to the bad old days.

“I have lived in the Fountain on the Bishop Street and Wapping Lane entrances when violent attacks have in the past been orchestrated to intimidate and try to force more of the ‘exodus’ of Protestants and it was more than I saw in the last week.”