East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said that the new Londonderry and Strabane Council must choose a name that will not cause division.
Mr Campbell said the choice of Derry City Council did just that in 1984. The DUP made his comments after a consultant was appointed to look at the name of the newly elected Council.
He said: “The appointment of a consultant to look at the name of the new Londonderry and Strabane Council will only be good news if the opportunity is taken to start afresh after thirty years of community division caused by the changing of the Council name in the past.
“In 1984 the then Londonderry Council decided by a sectarian vote to dispense with the name Londonderry and demand that the Direct Rule Minister at the time instate a ‘Derry City Council’ name.
“We still live today with the legacy of that extremely divisive move. Disillusionment and resentment was only fuelled amongst the minority unionist community in the city when those behind the divisive campaign claimed they wanted an acceptance of diversity.
All sides now have an opportunity to prove that we have moved beyond that time and decision. The SDLP as well as Sinn Féin now have an opportunity to demonstrate what they mean when they talk about ‘partnership’ and ‘parity of esteem’.
“Unionists in the Londonderry and Strabane area want a Council name that will not cause division. The cold hard fact is that the Derry Council name did exactly that. The consultant will do a job of work, but the real test will be when the majority Sinn Féin/SDLP members on the Council take the decision. Talk is cheap, but actions are what the parties will be judged by.”