‘Coleraine’s historic Londonderry ties in danger’

The Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry parade in Londonderry last month

The Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry parade in Londonderry last month

Coleraine’s proud and historic links with its rural hinterland in Co Londonderry, the Honourable Irish Society and the Apprentice Boys of Derry are in danger of being broken by the changes to Northern Ireland’s electoral boundaries.

That is the verdict of the Ulster Unionist Party, who have hit out at proposals to place the town in a new constituency of Dalriada.

The party’s candidate last time around in the East Londonderry constituency, councillor William McCandless, said Coleraine has “no desire to be expelled from its home county”.

Mr McCandless highlighted Coleraine’s long established ties with Co Londonderry, which he pointed out was known as Co Coleraine until the 17th century.

He said: “I simply do not understand the rationale of how the proposals regarding East Londonderry – not least the proposed name of Glenshane and the decision to cut Coleraine off from its hinterland – were arrived at.

“It is perfectly clear that we would be leaving behind our natural hinterland namely Castleroe, Macosquin, Aghadowey, Garvagh and Kilrea. Coleraine is also extremely proud of its association with Co Londonderry, and the Honourable Irish Society.

“Co Coleraine was dispensed with in the early 17th century to form Co Londonderry. Will there be a campaign now to remove Co Londonderry as well? Removing the constituency name is only the start.

“We have seen many attempts to remove the name Londonderry and this is just another part of that campaign.

“This latest attempt to remove any Britishness from Northern Ireland is unhelpful and is a failure to recognise the historic ties with London and the Irish Society.”