UUP woman congratulates ABOD
ULSTER Unionist Alderman Mary Hamilton has congratulated the Apprentice Boys of Derry for the manner in which Saturday's parade was handled.
However, Mrs Hamilton expressed her disappointment that there have been some complaints about loss of trade in the city centre.
"As far as trade is concerned there were many years when traders refused to serve members of the Apprentice Boys. So in some respect traders only have themselves to blame for any downturn in business.
"This and the security concerns leading up to the parade may have had an impact on business, but that cannot be laid at the door of the Apprentice Boys," she said.
The Ulster Unionist councillor also gave her congratulations to Derry City Council for their response in clearing waste in the wake of the parade. Speaking about the parade in the Waterside the UUP woman said: "By the time 6 o'clock came you wouldn't have known that there even had been a parade."
"But, I would encourage young people to have pride in their city. There were only a few who had a party on a banking close to Irish Street after the march. They caused no trouble, but I would urge them in future to clear up their own rubbish and leave the bags were council can collect them in future."
Tourism in the city centre appeared to be healthy in Londonderry early on Saturday morning as tour guides conducted visitors through The Diamond as the initial events of the annual Relief of Derry parade took place. Foreign visitors were also prevalent in The Diamond on Saturday afternoon as the Apprentice Boys' parade made its journey back to the Memorial Hall, said leading Apprentice Boy and local historian, Tony Crowe, who added that many hotel rooms had been filled by people coming to take part in the Maiden City Festival and parade.
He said he would like to see more pageantry performed throughout the year to help build on this interest.
Foyle MLA, William Hay said that sections of the business community who highlighted adverse effects on businesses on Saturday were "sending out totally the wrong message" if they suggested the parade itself was responsible for this.
"People need to be very careful if they are perceived to be criticising the parade rather than the troublemakers, because Protestants may get the message that they are not welcome in the city centre. In my view, there were many visitors who came and stayed in local hotels and they provided an economic offspin for the city all through the week.
"The parade itself went off fairly peacefully and we need to build on that. There is a section that comes along to cause trouble, but I know that they are a small minority of people who have no support within the wider nationalist community. The challenge is how to deal with them, so there is no threat of trouble. We want to see a situation where shops stay open, the Apprentice Boys have urged people to spend their money in the shops, but they need traders to stay open and they need something to be done to prevent this annual hype and escalation of tension, and to tackle the issue of people who come into the city centre just to cause trouble for the parade.
"I welcome Peter McKenzie's remarks on Radio Foyle on Monday when he said that if this sort of parade happened in any other city in the world tourists would flock to it."
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Weather for Londonderry
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 5 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: North west