‘We are not going away’, McCann warns on university campaign

Eamonn McCann and Goretti Horgan, both of whom were due to speak at the event at St Columb's Hall.
Eamonn McCann and Goretti Horgan, both of whom were due to speak at the event at St Columb's Hall.

Derry remains “mad as hell” over the decision 50 years ago not to create a major university presence in the city, veterans rights campaigner Eamonn McCann has said.

Mr McCann added however that the city today stood united in its insistence that the status quo must and will be changed.

Mr McCann was speaking last night at a public meeting at St Columb’s Hall organised by local lobby groups University for Derry (U4D) and G4.

He said that while Derry was deprived of a proper university 50 years ago for reasons of sectarian discrimination among others, the situation was very different today.

“Recriminations over the past half century have gotten us nowhere. But if we all work together, approaching the issue from our various and in some instances very different perspectives, there’ll be no need for any more recrimination,” he said.

Mr McCann said Lockwood’s decision to award the university to Coleraine was part of a pattern of discrimination back in the 1960s which saw the the GNR line scrapped while the Matthew Report recommendation that Derry should not be the focus of new urban development resulting in the new town of Craigavon.

He said this “systematic neglect of the north west” was “why, to coin a phrase, we are still mad as hell, and now, not willing to take it any more.”

He added: “Decisions must now be made again by people in positions of power and influence. Dfifferent decisions.

“If we fail – and we have surely learnt enough in this town to take nothing for granted - we won’t shrug our shoulders and shuffle away. The need will remain. We will remain. If we have to look elsewhere, take a wider view, look at the issues in a more radical perspective, then we must, because we will have no choice.

“On behalf of the trade union movement in Derry, and, I believe, of all others represented here, be it known that this time we are not going away.”