Is squeezing the lifeblood out of Protestant Londonderry, modern Derry’s quiet disgrace?

Today an existing group of Church of Ireland parishes of “St Peter’s, Culmore and Muff are to be amalgamated with the parish of Christ Church. The move means that one parish will serve an area stretching from Derry city centre right into Co Donegal”. As this University of Ulster report noted between 1971 and 1991 the Protestant population on the Cityside of the river declined by some 83.4%. When Londonderry and Foyle College leaves for the other side of the river, only a tiny community of Protestants in the Fountain area will be left. The often sterile quarrel over the legitimacy of the city’s official name, Londonderry, belies the underlying reality of profoundly separated human lives, rather than the genuinely shared future our leading politicians have committed to through their ministerial pledge.

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  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    My last brief contribution to this thread.

    I can’t argue with the ‘perfect counsel’ of those guidelines. But like the ‘shared future’ of the ministerial pledge they contain fine sentiments that seem to have no place in the political and civil initiatives that have featured on this thread.

    I’m not sure I can name any single action or set of actions that would improve community relations, until the problem is recognised ‘at home’. Derry is simply not the paragon of virtuous community relations that its majority political interests seem to think it is. Five minutes spent at the back of the modern Derry bus talking to any of its current incumbents would tell you that.

    Perhaps one thing Derry nationalism could do is to listen to what Prods want and act fully and completely on those parts that don’t compromise its own set of values. The rest of us can then draw our own conclusions as to what those values actually mean in practice, rather than what is claimed for them in theory.

  • Briso

    Posted by Mick Fealty on Sep 03, 2007 @ 09:50 AM
    Perhaps one thing Derry nationalism could do is to listen to what Prods want and act fully and completely on those parts that don’t compromise its own set of values. The rest of us can then draw our own conclusions as to what those values actually mean in practice, rather than what is claimed for them in theory.

    Sorry Mick, not good enough. You’ve accused a whole city of failing to do its duty. What exactly do you mean? We think we ARE doing what ‘the Prods’ want, and indeed having some success. What do you want? The Apprentice Boys Relief of Derry and Lundy day celebrations close the city down, in the latter case on a Saturday before Christmas. The overwhelmingly Catholic West bank support both events with funding through the council to which they pay local taxes and by leaving the field clear. A tiny group of hoods gathers to shout abuse and throw the occasional bottle, just like EVERYWHERE ELSE!!!! It’s wrong, but what makes Derry so special? It’s a damn site calmer than Ardoyne or Whitewell. Derry pioneered agreement on these issues due to the good sense of both parties involved, a trait of people in the city.

    If it’s all about the name, fine, say so. Forgive me if I ignore those not from Derry as I genuinely don’t give a shit what they think it should be called. In Derry itself, dialogue is ongoing, but make no mistake, we want to change the name and that’s not a bloody crime. The suggestion to call the walled city Londonderry and market it as such as a tourist attraction has gained support across the town. Of course, many Protestants don’t accept it as a quid pro quo for changing the overall name of the city, but the discussion goes on. The name change issue didn’t make them leave. Remember the troubles?

    So spit it out! What should we be doing that we’re not and why? And, with respect, how do you know?

  • Harry Flashman

    Briso

    Who do you want to stop calling the city “Londonderry”? All the citizens of that town who so wish can have all their correspondence and official documents use the name “Derry”, the Post Office and all businesses and government offices accept this. The Irish government and Irish government agencies have always used “Derry”, no one has ever stopped them.

    So what do you mean by ‘name change’? You mean you want the British Government and British map makers to stop using “Londonderry”, is that it? Why? If you are a Nationalist you don’t accept the legitimacy of the British government so why do you demand that they and Unionists stop using their preferred name for the city?

    No one is imposing “Londonderry” on anyone at all, if you prefer “Derry” go ahead, use it, but it seems you want to stop others using the name just because you don’t like it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Briso,

    For good or ill, I’ve made my pitch. And, despite some heavy prompting, it doesn’t include a prescription for what to do about it.

    If you can get HMQ to go with the name change, well and good. But I suspect you are heading up a cul de sac if you can’t settle this locally. See my previous comment on the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    I hesitate to press this with someone who had direct experience of forced movement the other way, but the linkage in the title above is between expulsion of the name, and expulsion of real people from Derry’s west bank. It’s not a causal link, but it is currently perceived as an insult on top of injury.

    It’s an important connotation to these serial conversations, and one that is felt powerfully on the Protestant side yet rarely acknowledged, publicly at least, on the nationalist side.

  • Briso

    I don’t want to stop anyone calling it Londonderry. I want to change it’s official name, as do the majority of people in the city, I believe. That’s all. Whether that conflicts with your definition of what a ‘Nationalist’ should think doesn’t bother me in the slightest. In Derry, we think whatever we want.

  • Briso

    Mick wrote:
    For good or ill, I’ve made my pitch. And, despite some heavy prompting, it doesn’t include a prescription for what to do about it.

    Fair enough, Mick. My only further comment is that the city fathers do listen and work with various Protestant loyal organisations, community groups and of course, Unionist representation at Stormont (Willie Hay) and on the council. We have had a number of DUP mayors. They are giving a prescription which the city is trying to administer. A considerable number of initiatives have been taken at their prompting and with their support. These haven’t always received the support they deserved from outside the city. See this for an idea of what I mean. One might say that the Protestant people of Derry have not been getting support from further East, a common Derry complaint.

  • Harry Flashman

    **In Derry, we think whatever we want.**

    Exactly as I remember things in Derry.

    The official name of the town according to the majority of the population, the local council and the government of Ireland is “Derry”, so why are you so obsessed with asking the Queen of England to stop calling it “Londonderry”?

  • Briso


    Posted by Harry Flashman on Sep 03, 2007 @ 03:59 PM
    **In Derry, we think whatever we want.**

    Exactly as I remember things in Derry.

    🙂


    The official name of the town according to the majority of the population, the local council and the government of Ireland is “Derry”, so why are you so obsessed with asking the Queen of England to stop calling it “Londonderry”?

    Because when we tried to change it before, we were told we would need to petition her, after a referendum. Seriously, I think a vote on this point in the city would be a foregone conclusion. I like the paragraph above though, there is the beginnings of an argument there. However, it won’t be enough on its own. Since accepting the status of NI won’t be changed without consent, we have effectively recognised British rule over Derry for the present. For how long? Somewhere between 10 and 200 years!!! That means the UK defines the name of the city in all international communication. It’s the name that is presented to the world. That’s why we want to change it and the UK government has told us how. But the vote has not been held. Democracy UK style has not yet spoken. If there is a strong counter argument, you might be surprised what can be achieved. Certainly, a recognition of London’s role in the creation of the walled city and a commitment not to airbrush out the name Londonderry in perpetuity. But “It’s Londonderry cos we say so and anything else just proves how sectarian you all are.” will not wash, especially if said by people outside the city who have no vote!

  • Mick Fealty

    Serious question Briso.

    The Royal Perrogative surely is only the final stumbling block? But what is the core argument for getting rid of Londonderry, as you see it? I don’t mean the size of the majority, but just some reasons why that majority want it gone?

  • Sean

    The concessions solemnly granted the Apprentice Boys of Derry each year come with adjunctive warnings that ‘you cannot expect this to keep happening every year’. In other words, “so long as you ask nicely for the privilege of marching around the walls to go to your Protestant religious service in our City, we’ll maybe be nice back

    this should be exactly the same bargain for every public event and the fact you dont think its okay to expect the “prods” to act like humans says alot about your attitude mick

  • Mick Fealty

    Have you read the research figures I dug out at your request Sean?

  • Ben

    As it happens, I have asked quite a few
    people older than me, Catholics and Protestants, about the claim of penny tossing from the walls. By now I’ve met three Catholics who lived in Fahah Street who say they remember it happenening, and many Apprentice Boys who deny it, some laughing it off saying “who could afford to waste the money?” But I’ve also spoken with a couple of local senior Apprentice Boys who say that it happened, it was regretable, but that it was “isolated” rather than common practice. Whatever the truth may be, it seems to loom large in the Bogside memory, and community memory is always a social construction. That’s true for everything in the town (and elsewhere) – Protestant migration forced and otherwise, gerrymanders and discrimination, state violence and terrorism. Words like “squeezing the life blood out of…” exacerbate polarisation and feelings of victimhood, while the truth can be a murky thing even in small places in a short period of time.

    My regular premise is that whichever side is on top, D/L’d is getting a raw deal, and that that can be approached jointly, with benefits for all. As for the name, perhaps the walled part of town, built by the merchants back when, can be called Londonderry, and the rest of the place can be called Derry. Some people who lived as close as the Fountain were using that type of distinction forty years ago, it might just work now. Ben

  • Sean

    What do statistics have to do with expecting people to act like humans?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ben,

    Sometimes, you have to crack an egg or two in order to draw objects out of the murk… But I cannot find much to disagree with in the rest of your post. I doubt there is a single solution to all of these matters, from the divisive symbolism of the name to the longer term effects of living such separate lives. What makes it a real issue, rather than an historical fancy, is the ministerial pledge.

    Sean,

    Earlier in this thread you asked for figures rather than percentages and, for good measure, suggested I was keeping readers in the dark for effect. I looked them up and linked a longer research report, and… well, silence… At it’s most polite that’s freeloading, at worst it’s trolling…

    As for your “acting like humans…” Terrence O’Neill comes to mind: “If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants.” Only yours is a comparison between humans and…?

  • Dewi

    Bullshit Mick – u can’t just moan and not suggest alternatives – what do you suggest the council should do ? – to change attidudes requires actions from authorities surlely ?

  • kensei

    “Oh, and that figure you were looking for Sean. The Cityside lost about 14,500 Protestants in the period covered above.”

    Still useless Mick. How does it compare with shifts within Belfast or elsewhere (on both sides, by the way)?

    Your premise is that this is somehow unique in Derry, with its own unique factors (beyond expected local variation) rather than merely being the exact same thing that went on elsewhere. In order for that to hold, you need to show how it differs from the rest of the six counties. So – did anywhere else run up those kind of figures?

    Stating a conclusion and then working backwards by pointing to figures is in fact worse than useless. It is plain wrong. You’ve said you’ve made your pitch – my problem is you haven’t.

  • Harry Flashman

    Fair enough Briso, but when I checked my Irish passport for my place of birth it said “Derry/Doire”, when my home county play in the All-Ireland championships they do do as “Derry”, all my correspondence with my manager at the Allied Irish Bank comes to me addressed to “Derry” and mine to him goes to his branch in “Strand Road, Derry”, none have ever been returned undelivered by the Post Office nor has any other communication I have had with public or private institutions.

    I would have thought that self confident Irish Nationalists could accept that the official name of the City already is Derry and has been since the emergence of an independent Irish government in 1922.

    To keep petitioning the queen and government of England to ask them to stop using the name preferred by the British rather smacks of trying to impose your view on others.

  • Sean

    Mick
    that is no answer to my question. What is wrong with expecting people to act like human beings if they expect to return to do the same thing next year? Whether they are oo or AOH whats wrong with expecting them to act like human beings?

  • andy

    HF
    Presumably if the name is changed people who prefer Londonderry will be able to do the inverse of what you are saying. So what is their problem?

    (I’m ont saying your argument is particularly unsound, just that it could be applied both ways)

  • Mick Fealty

    Damn, just lost a lengthy reply to Dewi. Here’s the short gist:

    Offering solutions when ‘the whole great problem’ has not yet been defined is tempting, but likely to be counter-productive in the longer run. The West to East population shift, however it was effected, and as the Journal editorial would indicate, has been a largely hidden context to the Derry name problem.

    I’m not in favour of nationalists, or unionists for that matter, adopting a “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” approach. Democratic politics works best as a “red in tooth and claw” affair. But consider the nature of this ‘hidden context’. It is a community wide trauma, not one wedded to a political party.

    The challenge to nationalist Derry is to find a way to genuinely re-open the gates (and the shops) to all its citizens. And, as the majority party in this nascent relationship, it should take ownership of the problem of making it work.

    Further, although Nationalists have unassailable control of the city, all judicial attempts to have this settled in court have led to an singular appeal to a highly risk averse HMQ. I suspect both sides will need the other’s help to get them off their respective hooks.

    Ken,

    What am I? Some of kind of free stats provider? 🙂

    As for Derry being unique, well in some ways it is, in others it is not. (I just know someone is going to cut me down over this next statement) Nationalism in South Down doesn’t have this problem with their unionist neighbours.

    As you rightly say there are other places where the majority have treated the experience of the minority with such casual contempt and thought they were happy to be treated so. Derry itself, as I have repeated mentioned in thread, has been treated thus in the past.

    Sean, you’re still trolling.

  • Briso

    Posted by Harry Flashman on Sep 04, 2007 @ 01:16 AM
    Fair enough Briso, but when I checked my Irish passport for my place of birth it said “Derry/Doire”, when my home county play in the All-Ireland championships they do do as “Derry”, all my correspondence with my manager at the Allied Irish Bank comes to me addressed to “Derry” and mine to him goes to his branch in “Strand Road, Derry”, none have ever been returned undelivered by the Post Office nor has any other communication I have had with public or private institutions.

    All true Harry, for at least 20 years now. No argument from me.

    I would have thought that self confident Irish Nationalists could accept that the official name of the City already is Derry and has been since the emergence of an independent Irish government in 1922.

    If Derry was not in the UK, I would agree (retaining the point that I don’t give a shit what a self-confident nationalist is supposed to think). However, much as I would like that situation, we accepted the GFA and we new what we were voting for. The official name of the city is Londonderry. We’ll change it the British way, democratically in accordance with the wishes of it’s people, if at all. 😉


    To keep petitioning the queen and government of England to ask them to stop using the name preferred by the British rather smacks of trying to impose your view on others.

    No, call it what you like, honestly. I’ve never corrected anyone and never will.

    I think there is an argument to put to the people for retaining the name Londonderry, but Mick’s ‘Keep Londonderry to show contrition for the blood on your hands, sectarian Derry scum!’ is unlikely to rally popular support.

    If I get time, maybe I’ll have a go later on at a ‘Keep Londonderry’ pamphlet, just for the crack.

  • Harry Flashman

    Briso your mentioning the GFA is quite apposite, in that agreement we accepted that we can be British or Irish or both, so why can’t the name of the town at the southern end of Lough Foyle be called Derry or Londonderry or both, indeed exactly as the situation pertains today, a good old fashioned compromise.

    If you have your way Nationalists will have the situation where their government recognises the official name of the town as Derry but Unionists will not have their government recognising the name of their home town as they choose to call it.

    Nationalists’ citizenship papers, their passports, will proudly proclaim that an Irish citizen born in Derry was indeed born in the town of that name, but by forcing the UK government to rename the city “Derry” you will be depriving Londonderry Unionists of the right to have their citizenship papers proclaim the city of their birth as they would like.

    Do you now see why Derry Unionists would feel aggrieved?

  • kensei

    “What am I? Some of kind of free stats provider? :-)”

    You are the one making the argument. Perhaps you need to ask Pete about the value of working backwards from conclusions.

    You will occasionally pop on and ask commentators to back up their statements. Quid pro quo, no?

    “As for Derry being unique, well in some ways it is, in others it is not. (I just know someone is going to cut me down over this next statement) Nationalism in South Down doesn’t have this problem with their unionist neighbours.”

    There is always local variation, but is it quantitatively different from the rest? You are suggesting it is. Pony up the evidence, then.

    Anyway, it has already been levelled on this thread that Newry was as bad. That is also a vague statement – was there no movement in South Down? Again, figures. And you are also perhaps comparing Urban and Rural experiences – apples and oranges.

    Harry

    The simple fact is that as Mick has pointed out, there is one one official name of the City, and that is decided by the British, because they run the six counties. Unfortunate fact, but accepted by all in the GFA. If it is to be changed, then it is by majority vote. If majority rule is enough to keep the six counties in the UK, then why shouldn’t the same principle apply to Derry’s name?

    I can see how Unionism would be aggrieved but as yet, has proposed no compromise. Other people have, but the response is always the same: not an inch. In this scenario I have no sympathy whatsoever. If and when they do start talking that will go up.

  • Sean

    No Mick I am not trolling you infered that the abod parade wasn’t a free expresion of prostenism with in Derry because the Citizens of Derry expected them to behave when they paraded, How could expecting them to behave be a bad thing? And how can havinbg them follow the law possibly be a supresion of their culture

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    I am the only one expected to ‘pony up’ here?

    All I can say is that I have talked to unionists in both places, and whilst no one likes to be in a relatively powerless minority, I don’t pick up much community resentment in South Down (that’s the modern Westminster constituency, not inclusive of all the southern part of the old ‘county’. Though I stand to be corrected.

    There was a reference earlier to a widely respected (up to and including some in the higher ranks of SF) book “A Precious Belonging” by John Dunlop that talks about the marginalisation of Protestants in that town.

    Seriously, I have work to do. If you want figures to falsify my arguments please feel free to dig them up and put them here.

  • Harry Flashman

    Kensei

    *there is one one official name of the City,*

    In point of fact you are wrong, there is NOT one official name of the city, there are two (well three if you include “Doire”); the government of Ireland, to which Nationalists give their allegiance is unashamed in its usage of the official name of “Derry” and good luck to them, that’s their right and privilege and no one is stopping anyone using that name.

    However, what name changers are demanding is that Unionists be prevented by the government to which they owe allegiance; the UK government, using the name they choose. It is somewhat akin to the old Unionist regime at Stormont demanding that Dublin not use the term “Derry”, such an idea would be laughed out of court but this ridiculous notion in reverse is what the name changers are demanding of the queen of England!

    If you want to use Derry, please do, you are perfectly entitled to do so, as a Nationalist you can take pride in the fact that your independent Irish government has only ever had two names for the city; “Derry” and “Doire”, but for heaven’s sake don’t have the affrontery to demand that Queen Elizabeth and her loyal citizens of Londonderry be forced to use a name to which they object.

    Fair’s fair Kensei.

  • Outsider

    When did Doire become an official name for the city, and don’t get me started on Derry.

  • Fraggle

    Harry, as soon as Derry citizens can pay their income tax to Dublin your argument will become valid. Until that day, it’s not.

    The Derry naming thing is a red herring anyway. The exodus from the west bank mainly occurred before the name was an issue and as the report states, the exodus has halted and the protestant population has stabilized now that the naming issue is more prominent than ever before. It’s a red herring just like the imaginary boycott from earlier in the thread.

    Anyone remember the UDA’s Doomsday scenario or the various repartition plans formulated in the 70s and 80s. Back then, things looked so bad all over that such plans were being seriously considered. In the event of one of those scenarios coming to pass, who would want to be on the wrong side of the new frontier? Before the Foyle Bridge, the only way to the waterside was via the Craigavon bridge or a boat.

    It’s no coincidence that the fountain is next to the bridge. The protestants in the fountain suffered many many more attacks than protestants in Glenbank but the Glenbank protestants are nearly all gone and the Fountain people remain.

    The Fountain is like the Short Strand or the Shankill Road. There’s not many catholics in East Belfast other than in the Short Strand or protestants in West Belfast other than the Shankill.

  • Fraggle

    Outsider, it’s not. Flashman is trying to pretend it is to make his point.

  • kensei

    “I am the only one expected to ‘pony up’ here?”

    You are the one making the argument. So, yes, you are the one expected to pony up. Once you’ve done that, and I want to refute you, it’s my turn. Otherwise you can make whatever mad claims you like and go “Well, prove me wrong”. It’s your responsibility to make the case in the first instance.

    “All I can say is that I have talked to unionists in both places, and whilst no one likes to be in a relatively powerless minority, I don’t pick up much community resentment in South Down (that’s the modern Westminster constituency, not inclusive of all the southern part of the old ‘county’.
    Though I stand to be corrected.”

    Useless as a tool for analysis unless you have asked them similar questions and have different responses.

    “Seriously, I have work to do. If you want figures to falsify my arguments please feel free to dig them up and put them here. ”

    No, I have work to do. If you are going to make accusations, which as demonstrated by the 326 response are fairly controversial, then at least you can build a case that supports it. Perhaps we’ve just hit the line between decent journalism and blogging.

  • Mick Fealty

    Let me try to follow this. You say that the (fully documented) loss of 14,500 from the west bank is not relevant because the same thing (no documentation, or even a hint where we could be talking about) may have happened somewhere else?

    Now stop me if I have this wrong, but you are also telling me that I have to find stats to affirm your assertion that Derry is not unique?

  • Dissenter

    Mick – expecting Kensei to take a constructive, objective and open-minded position on this topic is like expecting a non-partisan account of a Man U game from Alex Ferguson…you’re wasting your time mate…

  • kensei

    “Let me try to follow this. You say that the (fully documented) loss of 14,500 from the west bank is not relevant because the same thing (no documentation, or even a hint where we could be talking about) may have happened somewhere else?”

    No, I am suggesting that 14,500 is meaningless without context or comparison. The percentage helps say it’s high, but it isn’t enough to give the whole story. Derry has a much, much smaller population than Belfast and the lay of the land is different. Hypothetically if 20,000 people moved out of West Belfast it might still be as significant. Or if 80% of a number of small towns in an area changed that would also be relevant.

    As for location, well, it’s pretty clear I am not talking about New York. Belfast, South Down, West of the Bann — there are any number of places you could use to illustrate your point. You don’t.

    “Now stop me if I have this wrong, but you are also telling me that I have to find stats to affirm your assertion that Derry is not unique?”

    No, you are asserting that Derry is unique. It is well known that there were high population movements and division of society along sectarian lines here. I don’t know, perhaps you have not noticed those big fucking walls all over the place. You are suggesting that this is a particular problem in Derry, and that the behaviour of Nationalism in the area since they gained a majority is a direct cause. There are a number of things you’d need to show for that to hold:

    – That the movement is significantly higher than other comparable places in the North – either in relevant urban settings or in relevant Nationalist areas. Because if it isn’t then it is fairly clear that this is not “modern Derry’s quiet disgrace”, but rather caused by the same set of factors that disgraced everywhere else in the North. On both sides.

    – That it didn’t happen in reverse in Unionist controlled areas, or if it did, it occurred for similar reasons. Because again, then the situation is far from unique.

    – It’d certainly be helpful if you could tie the rate of movement to specific actions by Nationalists in the area. Because you are suggesting causality, and while correlation doesn’t prove it, it helps your case.

    — That the rate hasn’t been artificially distorted by single events. For example, if 7,000 of those people moved shortly after Bloody Sunday that would be significant.

    I could go on. People could write whole papers on this, and it is undoubtedly complex. I’m not asking for that, merely some more depth than – “Look! All these Protestants moved so it must be Nationalist’s fault for squeezing the life out of them”. That is appalling science and appalling journalism.

    There are a number of ways to write this article that would not be so controversial. Regardless of reason, people are living separate lives. There is something wrong if people feel they can’t move to a certain side of a river in a city for whatever reason. Challenging specific behaviour is fair enough, particularly in comparison to expressed aims. There are certainly issues and problems to be addressed. But you are going further and suggesting a casual link between the population movement and Nationalist majority. You are also suggesting Derry is unique to everywhere else here. I think I have the right to ask you to back that up.

    To quote you – “it isn’t rocket science”.

  • Briso

    There are also perfectly good reasons given for the current alienation from the West Bank given in the report Mick linked (see page 16). Unfortunately he makes no reference to them at all. A number of initiatives are under way to address the concerns people have. Note that Protestants don’t particularly want to spend money making the West Bank more attractive to them! They want money spent in the Waterside, to address the lack of facilities they perceive. The big project in St Columb’s park, Ebrington and Clooney will certainly help that and hopefully now we have local ministers, we can revive the Foyle Footbridge idea.

    They are dead right about the monstrosity in the cemetery.

  • Mick Fealty

    Can’t win Ken. Sean wanted figures, when I quoted percentages. You say it’s not relevant, because hypothetically it might be worse somewhere else.

    What I actually said: “As for Derry being unique, well in some ways it is, in others it is not.”

    Can I just point out, that I am happy to corrected, upbraided, put to the rights. Just don’t make out I’ve said stuff that I haven’t actually said.

    Briso,

    Thanks for the links. Would you mind cutting and pasting page 16 for us? Thanks.

  • Briso

    Prego.


    – Between 1991 and 2001, the Protestant population of the Waterside increased by approximately 1000. However, census data showed significantly increased segregation of Protestant and Catholic communities within the Waterside area.
    – The majority of survey respondents said they are generally happy to work, shop, and socialise in predominantly Catholic areas.
    – Many respondents expressed discomfort at the presence of nationalist symbols, eg. flags, Celtic football shirts. Republican symbols in the city cemetery cause particular upset.
    – Whilst most Protestants are happy to shop in the Cityside, this is often limited to the Foyleside, Richmond Centre and Diamond areas of the city centre. Many respondents were far less comfortable in Guildhall Square, Waterloo Place, and Foyle Street.
    – School uniforms and the use of particular bus routes and bus stops serve to identify individuals as Protestant and therefore increase the likelihood that they will feel intimidated or be subjected to sectarian abuse or violence.
    – There is a strong sense of political and cultural decline within the Protestant community.
    – Younger Protestants were more fearful about entering Catholic dominated areas, due to the threat of verbal abuse or physical attack. They particularly feel confined within their communities, and experience difficulties in accessing leisure, educational, and other facilities.
    – There is a widespread perception among Protestants that Derry City Council is working to a nationalist agenda, and was biased against the Protestant population.
    – There is a recognition that fragmentation and rivalry within the Protestant community, alongside a relative lack of community development skills and a failure to network and exchange skills and learning has served to undermine community development efforts.

    By the way, the apparently hyperactive Margeret Ritchie has been announcing how she is going tackle Waterloo Place, Guildhall Square. I can confirm that it’s not just Protestants who avoid the area when shopping…

  • kensei

    “Can’t win Ken. Sean wanted figures, when I quoted percentages. You say it’s not relevant, because hypothetically it might be worse somewhere else.”

    No, it is relevant. It just isn’t enough. And I have explained 3 times why it isn’t enough.

    “What I actually said: “As for Derry being unique, well in some ways it is, in others it is not.”
    Can I just point out, that I am happy to corrected, upbraided, put to the rights. Just don’t make out I’ve said stuff that I haven’t actually said.”

    Nope, sorry, the implication of the title and article, not to mention the comments that follow are clear. Unless we have some sort of weird literalism going on, you are suggesting the problem in Derry is unique, and that it is related to Nationalist majority. You haven’t supported either beyond “A lot of people moved”.

  • Briso/Fraggle,

    what is wrong with having two official names?

  • Briso


    Posted by Sammy Morse on Sep 04, 2007 @ 10:18 PM
    Briso/Fraggle,

    what is wrong with having two official names?

    My name is Briso, not Briso stroke Fraggle. I answer only to Briso. Next you’ll be calling me stroke in a jocular fashion. 😉

    Seriously, I’m not sure how it would work. Do you mean like Liege, Luik, Luttich?

  • Sean

    I think its quite rich to have the unionists on here snapping at heel because the republicans and by that the majority want the name changed officially as the find it offensive

    So the Majority of people who find a name offensive shouldnt change the name of a city because the minority will be offended by the new name, thats some brilliant arguing there boys

  • IJP

    Well done on 300+ posts on an important topic at least!

    Sean

    Aaaaarrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!

    That’s the WHOLE point!

    It WASN’T right for 65% of the NI population to take 100% of decisions, and it ISN’T right for 80% of Derry’s population to take 100% of decisions.

    Majority Rule was WRONG in 1921, it was WRONG in 1968, it was WRONG in 1972… and guess what – it’s WRONG in 2007!

  • Billy

    IJP

    A very simplistic argument.

    We are not talking about the majority in Derry depriving the minority of votes/jobs/housing etc.

    As you rightly say, this would be a total abuse of being the majority. Direct rule wasn’t brought in because majority rule was bad per se, it was brought in because Unionists abused it and denied Catholics basic human rights.

    Personally, I would like to see the named changed to Derry and the old city retain the title of Londoderry as some have suggested.

    However, you seem to be suggesting that the vast majority of the residents should retain a name that they don’t like just so they don’t upset the minority who don’t want it changed.

    There wasn’t such consideration shown in the past as many roads, landmarks etc are named after the British Royal Family.

    As I said, I would be happy for a compromise. However, I don’t think that well over 70% of the population should retain a name they don’t like just to keep approx 25% happy.

    If you adopt that attitude on a wider scale, nothing would ever change and no progress would ever be made.

    Also, I am expressing an opinion but I am from Belfast so my opinion should not be of any value in this decision.

    There are many people (such as Andrew McCann and his petition) who are striving to block this move.

    The only opinions that should count in this matter are those of people born in Derry or who live in Derry.

    Anyone else, such as I , have every right to express an opinion. However, people who aren’t from Derry or resident in Derry aren’t directly effected by this and their opinions should be given no weight by those who make this decision.

  • Do you mean like Liege, Luik, Luttich?

    Aye, or at least I think I mean what you think I mean. Both could be official names in the charter; and I suppose de jure recognition of the current de facto practise of public bodies using whatever name customers preferred, etc. Perhaps in the context of a UK charter Cardiff/Caerdydd might be more appropriate. 😉

  • Dewi

    Caerdydd/Cardiff I rather Sammy LOL

  • kensei

    “It WASN’T right for 65% of the NI population to take 100% of decisions, and it ISN’T right for 80% of Derry’s population to take 100% of decisions.

    Majority Rule was WRONG in 1921, it was WRONG in 1968, it was WRONG in 1972… and guess what – it’s WRONG in 2007!”

    No, you’re the one occupying the normal position of the Alliance party: King of Wrong. Majority rule wasn’t the problem. Abuse of majority was the problem. No possibility of change of government was the problem. Systematic exclusion was the problem. This led to an irreconcilable breakdown of trust, making normal majority democracy inappropriate in our new settlement.

    There is tyranny of the majority, which decent democracies guard against. But tyranny of the minority and paralysis is an almost equal danger.

  • Harry Flashman

    Outsider, Fraggle,

    Well I never, who knew Derry Nationalists were such partitionists after all? So something is only “official” when the Queen of England says it is, is that it? This despite the fact that a sovereign, independent Irish government says something else, they don’t count because Derry people pay tax to the British exchequer.

    Are people only Irish and living in Ireland if they pay tax to the Dublin Revenue office? If they are in the six Irish counties of Antrim, Derry, Armagh, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Down they cease to be Irish and are no longer residents and citizens of Ireland?

    I say again, the official name of the Irish city located at the southern end of Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland is “Derry” or more precisely in Irish, the official first language of Ireland; “Doire”. Those are the only two official names of that Irish city according to the legitimate government of Ireland. I know, I checked the Irish passport issued to me by the Irish government in Dublin and it’s very clear in black and white; place of birth “Derry/Doire”, not a mention of “Londonderry” anywhere.

    There appear to be a lot of so-called Irish Nationalists unable to accept this simple fact and believe that it’s only “official” if an English queen says it is, an odd lickspittle form of Irish Nationalism that!

  • There is tyranny of the majority, which decent democracies guard against.

    Which is just what happens when you let those evil hatemongering Jaffas run things.

    But tyranny of the minority and paralysis is an almost equal danger.

    Which is what happens when our lot run things and those demographically-imploding, no-culture, crypto-Boer, Jaffas won’t lie down and accept their place.

    You’re now occupying the classic Republican position which is “We would never be bigoted, not like those knuckle dragging Huns.” Either consociationalism is right or it’s wrong; saying its right when they’re in a majority but not when we’re in a majority isn’t actually terribly consistent.

  • Billy

    Sammy

    I can’t speak for Kensei but that isn’t what I said.

    Majority rule isn’t wrong per se. Westminster democracy is a form of majority rule – neither Conservative or Lib Dems have any say in govt.

    However, if the govt tried to blatently discriminate against any minority and deny them votes, jobs, housing etc then there would rightly be a public outcry. While they may have a majority, the govt could not (or would not) act in such a manner against any group of citizens.

    Majority rule is only a problem if the majority totally ignore the rights of minorities and deny them their rights.

    In pre 1972 NI, the Unionist “govt” was in a position to blatently discriminate against the Catholic minority with no outcry and no-one to stop them. The fact that they took this opportunity to do so for decades is a matter of historical fact.

    The current situation in Derry is hardly comparable. No-one is being denied a vote, a job, a house etc. The vast majority of Derry folk want to change the name. While the minority may not agree, this is hardly life threatening nor is it a denial of their basic civil rights.

    Are you suggesting that the will of the vast majority should be ignored to placate the minority? Would you say then that e.g. Lisburn should not have granted the RIR the freedom of the borough because a minority of citizens disagreed?

    I don’t see any great camapaign for the NI football team to use a neutral anthem. The IFA are supposedly trying to increase their support among Catholics. However, they retain GSTQ because the majority of their fans want it and the minority just have to live with it.

    If any change can be prevented by a minority (even if the majority are in favour) then, as Kensei says, a paralysis will set in and no progress will be made.

    If Nationalists in Derry (or anywhere they are in a majority) were to try and treat Unionists as Unionists treated them for decades, that would be wrong and I would be appalled.

    However, this is not breaching anyone’s human rights or denying then anything. There is absolutely no sensible comparison to be drawn between this and the disgraceful behaviour of the pre 1972 Unionist govt of NI.

    The vast majority of Derry citizens want the name changed so, in my opinion, it should be. Others may not like it but they’ll just have to live with it.

    It seems that many Unionists aren’t so keen on democracy when it doesn’t deliever the outcome that they want.

  • The Dubliner

    “Majority rule wasn’t the problem. Abuse of majority was the problem.” – Kensei

    Democracy can’t work without the principle of majority rule. It’s very difficult for a government to abuse majority rule to the detriment of the political and civil rights of minorities in a republic where those rights are written into a constitution and the power of the majority is thereby held in check. Sans a constitution, the majority can do as it wishes, using law to serve its purpose. But you don’t have majority rule in what passes for democracy and government in NI, so the abuse of something that no longer exists is going to be a tad difficult. And who said that local councils are bound by the same coalition restrictions that are imposed on NI’s government? It’s a poor system where a minority has a veto and where all progress must be subject to elusive unanimity, causing stagnation to be the guaranteed outcome.

    That aside, and assuming you have a hope in hell of removing the Royal Prerogative thingie which limits the power of local councils to change city names, here is something you should consider: if one accepts that the majority of residents in a town have the right to change its name, won’t that lead to a plethora of similar disputes if either unionist or nationalists majorities in other towns or cities want to change names to ones which the minority community may object to? For example, what if the residents of Portadown want to rename it after a monarch?

  • Ben

    Then of course, dare I say it, there’s Israel. For all its imperfections (don’t start, there are more than 300 posts on here already!) they make Jewish kids study Arabic in school and Palestinian Israelis study Hebrew, and they all study English. Currency has three languages on it, roadsigns the same, and the city that they’re squabbling over is Yerushalayim/Al Quds/Jerusalem. On the whole, Israel/Palestine isn’t a model for Northern Ireland or anybody else that’s halfway sane, but when it comes to language and nomenclature, to each his/her/their own. True, each side prints its own maps, but when it comes to talking about the place, everybody knows where they’re talking about, whatever language it’s in. Time to grow up on this one, does anybody really want to lag behind the Middle East? Ben

  • Briso


    Posted by IJP on Sep 04, 2007 @ 11:05 PM
    Majority Rule was WRONG in 1921, it was WRONG in 1968, it was WRONG in 1972… and guess what – it’s WRONG in 2007!

    This is Derry we’re talking about, it was MINORITY rule in 1968, a situation you seem to want to bring back.

  • kensei

    “Which is just what happens when you let those evil hatemongering Jaffas run things.”

    No, which was what did happen when Unionists politicians had a monopoly on power. That’s just historical fact, Sammy and sarcasm isn’t going to change it.

    “You’re now occupying the classic Republican position which is “We would never be bigoted, not like those knuckle dragging Huns.” Either consociationalism is right or it’s wrong; saying its right when they’re in a majority but not when we’re in a majority isn’t actually terribly consistent.”

    No Sammy, I am most definitely not saying that. Tyranny of a Republican majority is just as wrong as tyranny of a Unionist majority. But the general principle of majoritarian democracy is not wrong, otherwise practically all the Democratic world is wrong. The question is how to ensure proper checks and balances.

    Context matters. So in some situations, consociationalism is right, and in some it is wrong. In general I prefer democracy by normal simple majority backed by a strong constitution and strong oversight (stronger than in the Republic, by the by, but the system there is helped by the fact PR makes even simple majorities difficult for one party). However, I have no trust whatsoever in Unionist politicians, or the fact that they still have an inbuilt majority with limited scope for change, so I support consociationalism here. If it was in the reverse, I would still accept it because I can see we’d get nowhere without it. It’s useful where there is a complete lack of trust.

    But it also has limits. We have majoritarianism on the National Question. So it is perfectly consistent on this type of issue to say that there is a binary choice, and majoritarianism should apply like it does elsewhere.

    But I am happy and I’ll bet most Nationalists are happy to compromise, if one is proposed, or at least talked about. I have already said it, others have already said it, and Nationalist politicians have proposed some. Unionists have not. So they bear some responsibility for keeping the poison in the system.

  • Mick Fealty

    Brief thoughts.

    The nationalist majority in Derry is absolute, and nothing around the name is going to change that.

    Whether it stays Londonderry, commuted to the common name Derry, the two given shared billing, or the ‘walled city’ called Londonderry. I suppose you could a kind of partition as they have in New Hampshire and establish a separate town on the Waterside and call it Londonderry.

    But: there is no local mechanism for changing the name. And, to make things more complicated, time is also ticking down for Derry City Council, the obvious authoritative forum for gathering a practical consensus.

  • Dawkins

    Mick,

    “But: there is no local mechanism for changing the name.”

    Perhaps it’s time one were called into being. Seems a simple enough piece of legislation to me, and I can’t see QE2 being unduly distressed about such a thorny decision being taken out of her hands.

    Perhaps the good peeps of nearby Muff could obtain a similar empowerment :0)

  • Mick Fealty

    ‘Calling things into being’ is precisely what the Peace Process was all about. The ‘Londonderry’ problem appears to have been one of several that were filed in the ‘too difficult to do anything about so let’s do nothing’ folder.

  • Dawkins

    Mick,

    LOL. I for one am delighted with the way the Peace Process is panning out. We’re seeing the hitherto unthinkable happening, such as Paisley talking to Dublin about animal welfare, to take one small example.

    If the Londonderry question exercises so many peeps (perhaps even more than does the fighting dogs issue) then it should be up there on the agenda.

    I used to think it was a ludicrous issue, not worth bothering about, but now that I see the ramifications — thanks to the many hundreds of posts here — I understand its importance and believe it should be tackled toot sweet.

  • Mick Fealty

    I suspect ‘masterly inactivity’ is more likely on the cards, in part because the subject is capable of stirring more than 350 comments. This looks like a bottom up problem. I suspect that no one at the top will spend their hard earned political capital pushing it through unless there is a agreement at base.

  • Dawkins

    Mick,

    “Bottom up”, as in someone outside politics suggesting a competition to rename the city completely?

    Isn’t it often referred to as the Maiden City? So what would be wrong with plain ol’ Maiden? Would it not send out the message that the city is NI’s flagship of the, er, new dispensation?

  • Dewi

    Dawk – her goes another 350 !!!

  • Dewi

    http://www.qub.ac.uk/c-star/pubs/lloydetal.pdf

    Not for the fainthearted but does show the degree of “spatial variation in segregation” over there.

  • jpeters

    Dawks

    think your on to something

    Name : Maiden City
    Divided into : Derry Quarter
    Old Walled Londonderry Quarter
    Waterside Quarter

    Plus i thing the tourists get a kick out things like this. brochures are always full of the ‘old town’ and such and such quarter

  • Fraggle

    jpeters, I don’t think your idea adds up……..

  • jpeters

    LOL! quarter short? maybe the fountain quarter?

  • Briso

    I suspect ‘masterly inactivity’ is more likely on the cards, in part because the subject is capable of stirring more than 350 comments. This looks like a bottom up problem. I suspect that no one at the top will spend their hard earned political capital pushing it through unless there is a agreement at base.

    Posted by Mick Fealty on Sep 05, 2007 @ 01:26 PM

    ‘This subject’, the name of the city, did not generate 350 comments. Your attack on the people of Derry as being especially sectarian compared to the rest and driving out the defenceless minority in their midst is what generated the heat. The name change issue is nowhere near so heated and has been conducted in a fairly calm manner, when it is not presented as a means for entirely innocent people to atone for their ‘disgrace’.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Well said Briso!

  • Mick Fealty

    Now before this descends back down the rocky road we have just come by, let me admit that the thread has created more than its fair share of heat and light. Some of it fairly unpleasant. But let me also try to explain what base matter I’ve been puzzling at through all of this.

    Wittgenstein’s advice to himself when he was puzzling out the relationship between language and the world about him:

    Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one.

    We’ve been round and round the garden on the name debate for the last five years on Slugger and elsewhere and, as I have noted above, it is a profoundly sterile debate. All the more so now the process of judicial challenges have come to an end.

    So let’s look again at the title:

    Is squeezing the lifeblood out of Protestant Londonderry, modern Derry’s quiet disgrace?

    It is a question, not a neat statement of fact. But does clearly imply that the name and Derry’s Protestant population ‘drift’ are tightly related. It doesn’t say how, just takes it as axiomatic that they are. The question of whether or not it is a disgrace is deliberately left open, but I suspect simply asking it in this way is what is responsible for the intense heat on this thread.

    None of the information is new. The UU report is two years old and the census data is 16 years old. Neither is the linkage. It is muttered about in Protestant Derry, but, and again the Journal editorial would seem to bear this out, it is simply waved away as a irrelevance by Nationalist Derry.

    Taken in isolation, the name debate has easily been pitched as the Prods kicking up, because they can’t stand the idea that they ‘lost’. Let this thread stand as exhibit C on that count. It is replete with multiple character assassinations of a small sub set of the people of Derry with one commenter talking (quite seriously apparently) about making them behave like ‘human beings’.

    But when you broaden the view to take in the traumatic experience of Protestant Derry during the troubles, the picture changes somewhat. The view may not be a clear one, but it is a more complete picture in which to view the name debate and the city’s treatment of the loyal orders.

    Derry has had relative peace because the two communities lead largely separate lives now, with the security of a wide river running between them. Again, as I pointed out in the lead piece, none of this matters if our leaders are committed to separate development. But they are not. Check out the ministerial pledge up above, Paragraph C:

    “to promote the interests of the whole community represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future”

    It is not a case of atonement, it is a case of shifting strategic direction. Derry is not a basket case, separate lives certainly draws tensions out of what might otherwise be tense situations throughout the year. But that is not what the parties involved are committed to now, whatever they were doing before.

    When all the people of Derry can welcome the ABOD without the aid of d-humanising police barriers, and the shops can stay open and the name be settled to the grudging satisfaction of all, it will know it has cracked the conundrum set it by the Belfast/St Andrews Agreement. But until then, those of us who continue to point out that the emperor is minus his shirt and pants, will just have continue taking the brickbats.

  • Dewi

    Mick – appreciate your time, thought and effort on this thread. (especially the “and finally” posts LOL)

    Couple of points:
    “the two communities lead largely separate lives now, with the security of a wide river running between them.”
    Is it pedantic to point out that the “Protestant” side is fairly mixed ?
    “Derry’s quiet disgrace” was a cause of the heat I’m sure. The nationalist political representatives in Derry have probably the most honourable non-sectarian record of anyone over some very troubled times.
    THe name of city up to them but I’m ceratin will be resolved in a satisfactory fashion.

  • Dewi

    and Wittengstein always overrated in my book – didn’t seem to like Ireland much !!

  • Dewi

    I actually withdraw that comment – conflicting evidence of Wittingstein view of his Irish sojourn.

  • Ben

    OK, we’re winding down, so I’ll be brief. Mick suggests that when “all the people of Derry can welcome the ABOD without the aid of d-humanising police barriers, and the shops can stay open and the name be settled to the grudging satisfaction of all, it will know it has cracked the conundrum set it by the Belfast/St Andrews Agreement.” I would strongly caution against using unrealistic unanymity as a marker of success, even metaphorically. When Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993 the (idiot) newspaper headlines read “An End to Hatred!” Please. To use one of Mick’s examples, I ask people in D/L’d if there will come a day when police are no longer needed at ABOD parades, and every single one of them points out that large gatherings require policing, so don’t use that standard to measure. So ok, setting that aside… fewer police in hard gear, fewer spit barriers, fewer Bog kids up at the corner of the Richmond Centre, no helicopters, more shops open, and traffic moving up from Butcher Gate through the Diamond while the parade is going on. Amazing! In just a few years I’ve witnessed enormous transformation.

    OK, at the same time, the interface areas in the town continue to see regular low level violence, residentially the town is still segregated, etc. etc. But those that seem to suffer most from sectarianism, and to engage in it (politicians aside), are the working class and the young. Big surprise. So sure, people have long memories in the town and there’s no shortage of hard feelings and hatred to go around. But on the whole, there’s potential for real progress, linked, as always/everywhere, to money to make it happen. I’m not expecting the sectarian issues to vanish, just hoping that they take their place in line behind class issues. Meanwhile, give Derry/L’derry its due… it could be better, but it could also be a helluva lot worse, and was not so long ago. Cheers, Ben

  • Mick Fealty

    Ben:

    “When Rabin and Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn in 1993 the (idiot) newspaper headlines read “An End to Hatred!” Please.”

    Agreed.

  • lib2016

    It would seem that we have failed to answer or even ask the real problem, and the people with that problem are undoubtedly Derry Prods, who have been historically unable how to live in peace and equality with their neighbours.

    The Waterside is now going the same way as the City, i.e. the nationalist population is increasing, a process which will accelerate with the new university, while the old unionist population is falling.

    Then again the question should be asked – are there any colonies which have not seen a fall in the British community as their freedom approaches?

    Colonial masters, and that is how the Derry unionists behaved up until very recently, don’t find it easy to deal with the rise of democracy. Why would Derry or NI be any different?

    As for the name change? Either one realises why Cassius Clay became Muhammed Ali or one doesn’t. Certain people will never understand why he didn’t know his place and the loss is theirs.

  • Harry Flashman

    Here’s my solution to the Derry/Londonderry name issue, tell me if this would not work.

    The Dublin Government makes it crystal clear that the two official names of the city are Derry and Doire, and all Irish government documents, passports and road signs will use these terms, An Post will also deliver mail addressed to Londonderry. In fact there is no actual need for them to make this clear as it is the situation that has pertained for three quarters of a century already but reading some posters here this may not actually be apparent so no harm in a public statement.

    At the same time London government says the two official names are Derry and Londonderry and the Post Office and all government agencies will be instructed to use both terms according to the desires of the citizen with whom they are dealing. Again this is PRECISELY what is already happening but a public statement would help. As a final gesture the road signs in Northern Ireland will direct travellers to either a) Derry/Londonderry b) L’Derry or c) a 50/50 split of Derry and Londonderry or d) a combination of all three.

    Honours even all round, everyone happy, anyone got a problem with this solution or do we still want to ram “one size fits all” down our neighbours’ gullets?

  • Briso

    Posted by lib2016 on Sep 05, 2007 @ 08:48 PM

    The Waterside is now going the same way as the City, i.e. the nationalist population is increasing, a process which will accelerate with the new university, while the old unionist population is falling.

    Actually, that’s not exactly true. The latest figures reckon the Protestant population is rising very very slightly, but of course dropping as an overall percentage of the population because the Catholic population is rising more quickly.

    As for the rest of your post, I just wonder how you can post with such authority about what is going on in other peoples heads.

  • Briso

    Posted by Mick Fealty on Sep 05, 2007 @ 05:42 PM
    …..

    Mick, that was a long post with plenty of good and bad in it. Rather than go through it point by point, let me explain what I would have done in your place.

    1) Given a quote from the IN article which prompted the post, the only new thing in the thread, as one can’t access it without an account.

    2) Assuming I felt that this could be a symptom of a ‘cold house’, checked to see if perhaps the same process was occurring in Catholic parishes. I posted the link showing that to be the case.

    3) Given that I felt it was related to the cold house, irrespective of point 2, I would have posted up the report into this very subject and checked it to see what Protestants were saying about alienation and what they wanted done about it. Not only did you not do this, when I pointed out that it was on page 16, you requested that I post it up! Which I did. I would also have noted that the massive reduction in the numbers of Protestants was quoted as having happened before 1991 and tried to find out what had been happening since then to see if it could answer to the amalgamation of the parishes. (Could I point out that Pam, the only other person on this thread apart from myself to have formed part of this Derry migration, gave a clear and sober personal account of what was happening to the amalgamated parishes which everybody else seemed to ignore.)

    4) Assuming I thought that the continuing reduction in Protestant numbers in recent years (for which I still haven’t seen the evidence, but that aside) was based at least partly on the city name discussions, I would have quoted a relevant section in the report. I couldn’t find a reference to it in there, but perhaps you could.

    5)Given that the report was two years old, I would have looked at the recommendations in there and tried to find out if they were being acted on. Specifically, has the Nelson Drive bus stop been moved? What is being done about leisure facilities in the Waterside? What is being done about those parts of the city centre (Waterloo Place and Guildhall Square) which Protestants avoid? What about the physical disconnection of the Waterside and the mooted footbridge? What are the issues which are helping or hindering these plans? I did some of that for you, you didn’t bother.

    6) Given I placed importance on the treatment of the ABOD, I would have looked into the way in which DCC and the majority community rlated to them regarding Lundy Day, the Relief of Derry, the siege commemorations etc. Most importantly I would have noted the fate of the excellent Maiden City Festival and maybe tried to find out what went wrong. I would have loooked at the development of the 12th August over the past few years to see how it was progressing or regressing in terms of security and disruption. I did some of that for you too.

    You didn’t do any of this Mick. You knew which hobby horse you wished to ride and you didn’t bother checking if it was a racer or an old nag. As Kensei said, you showed the difference between blogging and journalism, and from there arose the heat. Wittgenstein me arse. 😉

  • Dawkins

    So much for my great idea of renaming the disputed city “Maiden”.

    Word reaches me (although it’s yet to be confirmed) that moves are afoot to twin Muff with Maidenhead, Berks.

    Oh well….

  • Briso,

    Thanks for that. You’ve included some interesting detail. We could certainly do with more of that kind of attention to detail, and less of the wide pallet treatment that’s been dished out on parts of this thread.

    As for the church thing, Pam’s most civil and gentle contribution was much appreciated. But so too was Sammy’s, who is familiar with the dynamic in both churches and who pointed out a critical difference between the two.

    There seems to be a general assumption that I alone am responsible for bringing all relevant (and potentially relevant) facts to light. That’s neither reasonable nor practical.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not using this as an excuse for having assembled an ‘incomplete brief’. But it’s a blog, the comment zone is for challenges, amendments, and the addition of important context.

    All too often people use the comment zone as means of blowing off steam about a subject they feel passionate about. But that’s not what it’s for. It’s for the enjoining of debate: ie, civil but robust engagement on a whole roster of subjects.

    All in all, despite the heat, this thread has been as useful as any at throwing light on an underdiscussed issue.

  • Briso

    Mick wrote:

    >All in all, despite the heat, this thread has been as useful as any at throwing light on an underdiscussed issue.

    Indeed, fair point, and perhaps that’s what blogging can do that journalism in the modern form cannot. When I looked back at what I wrote about the blog versus journalism question in my previous post, it read like rather a hard jibe. It was intended more ambiguously. Certainly, no Belfast Telegraph or Derry Journal writer would have engaged in the way you have done here and perhaps there is only so much research you can expect from a blogger. Perhaps the answer is to post what you know and ask questions about your hunches.

    The only remaining worry is that I always read the blogger posts, but select the comments sections I will dive into. I think someone reading your first post and deciding not to wade through the reams of emotional verbiage in the comments section (“375 posts! No thanks!”) might have the impression that the same old story continues in Derry without end. Perhaps that’s just the way it is on Slugger and there’s nothing can be done about that. You can’t force people to read everything! It just emphasises the importance of the first post, but it’s clear you know that anyway.

  • IJP

    Briso

    This is Derry we’re talking about, it was MINORITY rule in 1968, a situation you seem to want to bring back.

    Hold on, hold on, you’ve made many useful contributions to this thread, but that’s a bloody awful one.

    Can you point me to even a single letter of anything I’ve written that has suggested that?

    If not, I would appreciate an apology.

  • IJP

    Dewi

    Forgive me if I’ve missed a response to my earlier point on this, but as I stated earlier, one should not confuse a 60/40 population with “mixing”.

    Other than bits of Kilfennan and bits around the outskirts, the Waterside is no more mixed than (50/50) North Belfast is. It’s still separate lives.

  • Briso

    IJP, sorry.

  • Dewi

    “Other than bits of Kilfennan and bits around the outskirts, the Waterside is no more mixed than (50/50) North Belfast is. It’s still separate lives.”

    Didn’t get that impression from the map on the report – is that because the segregation is like street by street ? No peace walls waterside are ther ?

  • Dewi

    Anyone know roughly what page Pam’s comment was on ???

  • lamh dearg

    Sorry if what I’m about to say has been said already, but I skipped the middle 10 pages or so.

    another big factor in the “flight” was value for money, you get more house for your money in the Waterside.

    I (catholic) bought my 2 bed terraced house in Rosemount in the early 80s from a protestant family who had lived there for 40+ years. The price they got bought them a 3 bed bungalow in Kilfennan with garden which suited their retirement plans perfectly.

    Definitely no coercion involved just a normal move determined by time of life and property values.

  • Dawkins

    Dewi,

    “Anyone know roughly what page Pam’s comment was on ???”

    That would be P.6, boyo, post 10, (Aug 30, 2007 @ 09:56 AM).

    A damn fine post it was too and I should have said so at the time.