The UUP’s Foyle spokesperson Julia Kee has condemned the attempt by Sinn Fein to change the official name of Londonderry to Derry as “divisive and unnecessary”.
“This latest attempt by Sinn Fein is completely divisive and unnecessary and sends a message to the minority unionist community that they are not welcome,” she said.
“There are very real problems in our city which need to be urgently addressed but the name is not one of them.
“Last weekend the name of Londonderry was tarnished by masked men and women at a funeral. This did untold damage to the city’s reputation.
“Generally the unionist community refers to the city as Londonderry whilst nationalists prefer Derry.
“Many unionists are prepared to use ‘Derry’ as a shorthand term in everyday speech, but they are in no doubt that for official purposes the full name of the city is Londonderry.
“This seems to me to be a reasonable compromise,” she said.
She said it was a compromise which respected and reflected the historic links between this city and one of the World’s greatest cities.
“Ulster Unionists believe that Sinn Fein would be better served by focussing on education, employment, jobs, the need to attract investment, to improve housing stock and to improving healthcare. They would also help improve the lives of people in the city and its reputation elsewhere by seeking a way to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. This is how we will build a better future for individuals, families and communities.
“Great strides have been made in accepting differences in culture and identity in Londonderry with Sinn Fein claiming to be at the forefront of such initiatives. Positive developments have included the lowering of tensions around parading issues and the success of The Fleadh in Londonderry in 2013 and Sligo last year where Loyalist bands performed. It is high time that Sinn Fein explain their stance on equality, and if indeed it really is the ‘Trojan Horse’ which Gerry Adams referred to.”