There was united unionist opposition this week to any move that would result in a change of ownership to Londonderry’s historic City Walls.
In a warning volley, leading figures from across the unionist bloc in Londonderry spoke with one voice to say ‘hands off our walls’ after concerns surfaced at recent meetings held to discuss the future direction management and ownership of the walls.
Financed with money from the London Guilds in 1613, custodianship of the walls has been undertaken by The Honourable The Irish Society; but there is a rising tide of unease that the lease for the City Walls may end up in the hands of a private company, and that this could signal yet another attack on the Protestant-Unionist-Loyalist identity and the ancient links with London.
This week the Apprentice Boys of Derry, City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, the DUP and UUP united in opposition to any alteration in the custodianship of the walls, while the City Grand Orange Lodge called for any further attack on the cultural identity of the Protestant-Unionist-Loyalist minority to halt in the city, in line with minority protection legislation as set out in Section 75.
Far from being inflexible as to the management of the City Walls, the general secretary of the Apprentice Boys Billy Moore said the organisation would be willing to sit on a management committee overseeing the day-to-day operation of the walls.