Derry traders have accused DUP alderman Gregory Campbell of using their decision to remain closed on New Year’s Day as a political football.
Independent retailers hit out at Alderman Campbell for comments he made at a meeting of Derry City Council’s planning committee on Tuesday afternoon. He said he was shocked to see so many stores in the city centre closed on New Year’s Day - a Saturday especially in light of the losses incurred due to the recent wintry weather and the imminent VAT increase. He later said that traders had often complained about parades damaging business, adding that “there were no parades in the city on Saturday. Martin McCrossan, of Derry City Centre Traders Forum, said many traders believed the comments were based on a political agenda in light of traders’ opposition to loyalist parades being held in the city centre. “It is a low blow that Mr Campbell is trying to highlight the closure of shops in light of comments made by traders on the lack of trade during loyalist marches in the town. It’s a sad reflection that this comes down to something political. I would question Mr Campbell’s motives.”