Republican anthem played at city parade
DERRY City Council is to introduce new guidelines for participants in the Halloween carnival after a visiting band played a republic anthem during the parade.
The band - from the Limavady borough - struck up the so-called ‘rebel song’, A Nation Once Again, as it approached Queen’s Quay from Strand Road.
A section of the large crowd cheered wildly and sang along.
DUP Alderman, Joe Miller, said a small number of Protestant people decided to move away from the area because of this, and that his party had brought the issue to the council’s attention.
The incident was also recorded by a spectator and footage was shown to the Sentinel.
Mr Miller said that, overall, the carnival was a major success but that incidents such as this had the potential to mar it.
He added: “What happened was wrong and it must never happen again. We would make the same complaint if participants on a parade like this, started playing Derry’s Walls, even though that’s a song about this city.
“There is no room in a carnival like this that is aimed at involving all communities, for songs like this republican anthem.
“This particular parade mostly included children.”
Derry City Council said there had never been a complaint before about tunes played by bands in the quarter of a century since the Halloween event began.
But it said it would move to ensure that participants in future carnivals were aware of the inclusive nature of the occasion.
A spokesperson for Derry City Council said: “The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival strives to ensure that the festival is inclusive, welcoming and safe for all individuals and communities living in and visiting the city.
“The past 25 years of programming reflects this, with events taking place in venues across the city and people of all ages and various backgrounds taking part in celebrations. There has been no similar issue regarding in relation to artistic or programme content for Hallowe’en.
“Over 25 local community, youth groups and schools took part in the 2011 Carnival of Light parade, representing an equal spread of geographical groups and cultural diversity within the City.
“While welcoming and supportive of cultural expression from all communities, council is sensitive to community opinion while planning civic events.
“Now that the matter has been brought to our attention, Council will ensure future participating bands reflect the inclusive and community ethos of the festival.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west