The latest attempt by Sinn Fein to change the name of the city has been described as “an unhelpful step back in time” by former Foyle UUP spokesman Terry Wright.
He said it was regrettable that, as the new Councils sought inclusive engagement in a community planning process, that Sinn Fein which verbalised policy in terms of improving relations seems to now indicate it cannot handle power without causing turmoil and in addressing reconciliation, does so with a loaded agenda without any fixed point of consensus.
“Point scoring around hardened communal positions yet again seems to inform its politics,” he said.
“The case being presented by Sinn Fein centres on marketing. When the name change was discussed previously this was shown to be an unconvincing argument. That London is a centre of global financial activity ensures that this remains the case and only leads to the conclusion that reasoning is to do with imposing an agenda aimed at removing any semblance of the union and electioneering.
“The hasty response of the DUP in levelling charges of sectarianism at their main opponents shows the corrosive nature of the debate as politics in the city are diminished.
Greatness lies not in having power and influence but in building relations to use both for good. Sinn Fein it appears has still much to learn.”
“As a result, SF risks squeezing any sense of Irish-ness out of anyone who also wants to be British. In the light of some of Sinn Fein’s actions and politics in Derry/Londonderry in particular since the Year of Culture, is this an aberration or a reversion to type?
“It certainly stands in contrast to the attendance recently of Speaker of the NI Assembly Mitchel McLaughlin MLA at the War Memorial in the Diamond.”
He continued: “It seems, unwise and insensitive to the needs of the city, to create problems unnecessarily. This serves only to detract from challenging economic, social and cultural problems around which many community leaders across the political spectrum have shown a willingness to unite in the interest of finding solutions.
“This is not the leadership we have been lead to expect from Sinn Fein and runs counter to a developing atmosphere of inclusion and celebration of diversity within the city.
“Inclusivity and past advice on the potential impact of the choice of names on equality is being ignored,” he said.