Cacophony over Derry story ‘inevitable’…

So says Gregory Campbell in the Derry Journal. He argues that Nationalist narratives of the Derry story have historically dominated the media, but that:

“…now that there has been a modicum in redressing this massive imbalance in reporting, there has been a litany of excuses, outrage, and straightforward denial of the evidence.

“However much some people in the nationalist-republican community do not like the sequence of events that took place, they cannot be denied. Some in their community intimidated, abused, attacked and saw the removal of a massive section of the unionist community.

“Before the IRA campaign and the triumphalist activities of their political representatives began, unionists were content to live on the west bank. There were undoubtedly other factors but shooting, bombing and intimidation played its part. To the unionist community, I say this: ‘We cannot force our neighbours to face up to what was done in their name, but we must never let them forget that it was done’.”

  • Briso

    Cacophony over Derry thread ‘inevitable’…

  • kensei

    Haven’t we done this enough?

    Gregory doesn’t actually say anything of substance, simply Catholics are in denial. Few people deny violence was an important cause. They simply don’t like this being laid solely at Nationalism’s door.

    Violence was the trigger but did not result in the depopulation by itself, and population shifts were not a solely Protestant thing. To say otherwise would be “straightforward denial of evidence”.

  • Ben

    There’s that Kensei, but there’s more too of course. One thing you hear from (some) people is about the selectivity of the violence. You also hear, as I’ve noted on previous threads related to this bit, about the range of motivations for Protestant out-migration. Some of these things are said as defense, some as explanation, and some as expiation. Gregory Campbell, like most other people, is generalizing. This city doesn’t have one truth, not in any practical sense anyway. So long as nuance is lost, there will continue to be these ricochets… some harmless, some causing injury. I don’t think the documentary said anything new, so back to the bouncing ball…. Ben

  • mustard

    Thank-you for the re-direction to the Derry journal Mick. I enjoyed the letters page and I especially liked Ms Martina Anderson’s letter on the subject of “standing up for Derry”. She has issued a “clear demand” – “200,000 more tourists per year to visit Derry”.

    Whether they want to or not!

    She is becoming a national treasure.

    This is Ms Anderson’s letter.

    “A chairde

    I will lead a delegation of concerned people from Derry to Stormont on Monday, 21st January.

    The objective is to take the ‘Stand up for Derry’ Campaign to the decisions maker and to give the citizens of Derry the opportunity to challenge those Government agencies, who continue to fail Derry and the North West.

    The message of the Stand up for Derry Campaign is simple. We believe that, historically, Government and its agencies charged with responsibility for promoting the social, economic and cultural well being of people, have failed Derry and we demand that they now address these issues.

    We have five clear demands:

    2,000 better paid Jobs for Derry / Upgrade University at Magee

    200,000 more tourist per year to visit Derry

    Immediate action on the Motorway and Railway to Derry

    3,000 Social and Affordable Houses for Derry

    Cancer Service for the North West

    No one can deny that this City lags behind other regions in terms of job creation, public sector investment, structural and infrastructural investment, health facilities and community and educational opportunities.

    As the fourth largest City on this island and the North West capital, we have not enjoyed the same level of growth experienced by other cities and towns. Government’s own indicators of deprivation, as well as numerous reports from various agencies, give a clear indication of the effects of the neglect and decline on all aspects of life in the City.

    As citizens, this is our opportunity to demand change. We are proud of our City. We are proud of its citizens. Let us stand up for Derry, for if we don’t no one else will.

    I am calling on all the citizens of Derry to come to Stormont with me on the 21st January and demand that the decades of neglect that we have suffered come to an end.

    Information on the, Transport, time, etc can be had by phoning Patricia at 02871361949.

    Is mise,

    Martina Anderson MLA”

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Maybe reality just has a ‘nationalist’ bias.

  • Mick Fealty


    Candidate for ‘Quote of the Week’?

  • Razi

    Well said Gregory Campbell.

  • dewi

    Here we go again….and the British Army murdered civilians in cold blood, covered it up and still do so – passim. Why didn’t the Bogdise move en mass to Donegal?

  • Hogan

    “To the unionist community, I say this: ‘We cannot force our neighbours to face up to what was done in their name, but we must never let them forget that it was done’.”

    This thinking is typical of Campbell’s infantile approach to politics.

    Why not make a genuine attempt at helping nationalists in derry understand what your community had to endure through reconcilation and outreach?

    No, much better to stifle debate and ensure your re-election for the next 20-30 years carping on with an endless diatribe of victimhood.

    Why not timetable in ‘the exodus march’ every year, you know what they say Gregory… out of sight, out of mind.

  • kensei

    “Candidate for ‘Quote of the Week’?”

    Paraphrasing the peerless Colbert, of course.

    “Reality Has a Well-Known Liberal Bias”

  • Razi

    Hogan [i]”No, much better to stifle debate and ensure your re-election for the next 20-30 years carping on with an endless diatribe of victimhood.”[/i]


  • David King

    Reply to Martina Anderson from Socialist Environmental Alliance, published Derry Journal, January 15t


  • Hogan


    Re-read my comment, i didn’t deny anything?

    I just pointed out Campbells style of politics was to beat a big one-sided drum as evidenced by his defeatist approach to reconciliation?

    I accept perfectly that many wrongs were done during the troubles, nothing denied.

    I simply made the point that a politican of Campbell’s ilk has no interest in a genuine reconciliation.

  • nmc

    Political stunt, yeah I know what you mean. What is the SEA position on COBOL programming in Raytheon at the minute anyway?

  • flaminglip

    I didn’t notice much (if any) “outrage” as a result of the documentary.

  • mustard

    “I didn’t notice much (if any) “outrage” as a result of the documentary.”

    Me neither, and I went looking though the letters pages of the Derry Journal to try to find “disgusted of Bogside”‘s objection to the program. Perhaps Mr Campbell spends too much time getting worked reading some of the comments on Slugger.

    And Slugger would not disappoint a Derry politician. Today on page 1 we have a post on Mr Campbell’s letter regarding Derry, another about a little country airport in Derry and a third about a piece of artwork to be commissioned for Derry. Slugger’s almost as obsessed with Derry as Derry is with itself.

  • mustard,

    It’s a fine and beautiful city (not least because of it’s proximity to the ‘Hills of Donegal’), but I’d say each one of those stories is there on its own merit.

    Given we’ve a fair amount about North Antrim too, I don’t see how the accusation sticks. Not everything has to be about Belfast!

  • sluggerofoole

    Given the gross imbalance in the numbers of unionist to nationalist bloggers and the almost absence of threads started by nationalist bloggers in the last 6 weeks perhaps adding another unionist blogger to the roll wasn’t the most balanced thing you could do – given that perhaps you should redesign your top logo to something more accurate.

  • Mick Fealty

    Turgon is on the team for the quality of his output, not his politics. And if we are getting more Unionist minded commenters than before its because the news flows have moved back in that direction (after being stuck in the other direction for almost three years by my own reckoning).

    Although I have to say, we don’t keep a count of who is unionist and who is nationalist. Your last remark is purely ad hominem.

  • TOT

    Turgons is a good addition to the team – dont agree with his politics but he has a good angle on most matters.

  • RepublicanStones

    hows about sticking an unrepentant fenian bollox like meself on the team to even things up……no, i wouldn’t either, my grasp of engerlish isn’t the mae west. have to agree with you though, Turgon sure knows how to polish a turd.

    only joking Turg !

  • Let’s mock Martina by all means (those years inside made her hair go quite blonde and coiffed with suffering); but I suggest mustard @ 02:25 PM is a bit harsh in at least one thing.

    She has a point about improving tourism to Derry: what is she saying here that isn’t NITB policy? The target of 200,000 tourist visits a year is quite reasonable. It needs little more than putting the City firmly on the touring map. After all, Dublin got 4.6M visits in 2007– read that again, slowly — and intends to add a further 1M in three years. Does the word “swamped” come to mind?

    We have an indicator. Passenger traffic through Eglinton for 2006 was 347,376; for 2007 was predicted to hit 430,000; half a million this year; and 650,000 next. So, do the sums: she is (as I said above) being cautious, if anything.

    Why not recognise that, with the right investment in “image”, Derry must be at least as attractive (and, for the rest of the UK, at least as convenient) as a boozy weekend in a sub-zero ex-Soviet port? But Ryanair and Easyjet manage to sell the Baltic cities.

  • mustard

    “what is she saying here that isn’t NITB policy”

    Nothing Malcolm. That’s the point. Citizen Anderson is also demanding a motorway which engineers are about to finalise the route of.

    I expect she will soon add demands for a health service free at the point of use, votes for women and the end of military conscription.

    Because if Ms Anderson doesn’t stand for these things no-one else will!

    Certainly not the SDLP Council, the SDLP MP/MLA, any of the public agencies and services concerned or any of our ministers!

    Freedom for Tooting!

  • Chris Donnelly

    To the unionist community, I say this: ‘We cannot force our neighbours to face up to what was done in their name, but we must never let them forget that it was done.’

    Oh dear, that’ll take some beating in terms of MOPEry in 2008. Substitute the third word in for ‘nationalist’ and I daresay we’d have a ‘cacophony’ of commenters here and beyond asserting that nationalists were alleging that the ‘war/ conflict/ troubles(?)’ was all unionism’s fault.

    The Derry story is one that deserves told and analysed, as indeed do the many other stories told by minority communities across the six counties in the past 40 years.

    As I’ve said before on a thread on this issue, Derry’s protesant/ unionist community have managed to articulate their story and retain their identity within the city in a manner that proved beyond other minority communities (for instance, the east Antrim catholic/ nationalist community.)

    That is a testament to their resilience, as much as it is the willingness of the Derry nationalist community to create a space for expressions of the ‘other side’s’ cultural identity- I’ve made the point before on Slugger that even the suggestion of a republican parade through the centre of Lisburn, Ballymena or Larne would likely be enough to send loyalists back to attacking catholics (see the violent response of loyalists across north Antrim to Paddy Murray’s Ballymena parade several years ago if proof were needed.)

    The documentaries concerning Bloody Sunday and the decline in the city’s protestant population, recently shown on consecutive nights, were revealing in that they, once again, illustrated the separate, parallel existences led by nationalist and unionist communities here in the past (and indeed the present.)

    That Derry is having this dialogue is actually a sign that it is ahead of the curve in a northern context.

  • Briso

    Posted by Chris Donnelly on Jan 18, 2008 @ 12:33 AM
    >That Derry is having this dialogue is actually a sign that it is ahead of the curve in a northern context.

    This is exactly the point I’ve been trying to make. Belfast hasn’t even begun this process. As ever, Derry is way ahead when it comes to self-examination.

    As for Gregory, what cacophony? There was none.

  • I’d find it very freaky if he was going on the reaction on Slugger alone. I take Chris’s comments, and by and large I think he’s right.

    That’s partly because of the differences in scale. Simply, so many, frankly bestial, things occured on the streets of Belfast I am not sure its citizens know where to begin. As for population dispersal, the numbers were greater, and the trauma (if such things can ever be weighed quantitatively) much greater.

    Also that there remains a substantial, and by census figures, an irreducable, discrete mass of Protestants still living on the east bank. It’s within this body that this discourse has been bubbling quietly (and sometimes not so quietly).

    In contrast the history of Belfast’s population shifts is fairly well documented and has been well aired in public discourse (although it should be remembered that ‘Catholic Belfast’ got hammered for rioting in support of ‘Catholic Derry’ in way that the latter never experienced).

    The fate of Derry’s Protestants is startling not because it is new (as Ben points out, it’s not), but because of the (at best) silence surrounding a population shift on that scale. Despite a lot of undocumented claims to the contrary, I cannot think of another population shift that simply involved so many people. That it may have involved relatively (if we’re mining the Belfast analogy) little direct threat, does not take away from that scale.

    Has there really been generousity on the part of nationalist Derry in facilitating this discussion? Can say you similarly say there was generousity in Unionists accepting the principle of power sharing? In my perhaps flawed estimation, neither would exist if not for the doggedness of the minority population in each case refusing to shut up and go away.

  • barnshee

    “That is a testament to their resilience, as much as it is the willingness of the Derry nationalist community to create a space for expressions of the ‘other side’s’ cultural identity”

    Yea its called the Waterside

    (Golden opportunity to Dump the City side into the ROI created by population movement tho)

  • Battler

    Gregory is just off-beam here. There was no cacophony. Mary Nelis had a pre-emptive rant in the Sunday Journal before the films were shown and there was a slightly scewed Derry Journal editorial afterwards. Radio Foyle had a bit of whataboutery re catholic’s intimidated out of Newbuildings but other than that the story seemed to prompt a pretty positive reaction. Greggo did the same thing after a previous film in the 1980’s and talks of a reaction to that which no-one else remembers… Politician in imagined cacophony shocka… Hardly merits a thread does it?

  • Citizen Anderson


    Well said. The absence of genuine contemporary horror to rage against is starting to expose the shallowness of our “political class”.