Londonderry’s nationalist Mayor, Brenda Stevenson, and PSNI have hailed the Maiden City Festival highlight, the Relief of Derry parade, as a carnival-like celebration.
Congratulating those involved, both the PSNI and the Mayor described the atmosphere on Saturday as ‘carnival-like’ with over 35,000 people streaming into the city for the spectacle. There were only two arrests.
Mayor Stevenson said she was hugely proud of the city and thanked the organisers and particularly praised the work carried out by community workers in interface areas.
“I am delighted the weekend passed off peacefully and would like to congratulate all those people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to plan this event and to talk, listen and negotiate with one another and to show respect and tolerance.
“Once again our city has excelled itself and shown a good example to the rest of Northern Ireland and beyond on how successful partnership working is the way forward to deal with parading,” she said.
Meanwhile, G District Commander, Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin the parade as ‘exemplary’, attributing it to the hard work of, the Apprentice Boys, businesses, marshals and organisations that worked in partnership.
“It just goes to show that it obviously pays off when people respect and listen to each other and work for a peaceful resolution.
“There was a really good feel around the city, almost a carnival-like atmosphere. We have just come out of the City of Culture year which has left a huge legacy for the city and I think yesterday was testimony to that.
“I am pleased to say that I can’t remember a parade that has gone so well in the 28 years that I have been policing in this city and I hope that this positive momentum only continues.”
DUP Councillor, David Ramsey, said: “Members of visiting bands said they could not believe how good the atmosphere was and said they were looking forward to coming back. It was definitely a carnival atmosphere and shows that people feel safe coming into the city for events.”