#UTVtrip: What are the issues in Foyle for #AE11?

Tomorrow the UTV Twitter Road show rolls into the Foyle constituency. I should be on the ground from about 9, with a vo pop in the city centre, followed by a first political interview with Eamonn McCann.

It culminates in our Tweetup at the Café Del Mondo in Shipquay Place.

The idea is almost exactly the opposite of the traditional hustings event. There is no platform, just a circle. The subject of the conversation is what people who come bring to it.

So, as a primer, what do think we should talk about?

–       Poor broadband speeds?

–       Legacy value of the City of Culture in 2013?

–       Just one woman candidate for six Assembly seats?

–       Jobs, infrastructure and the local economy?

–       Policing, security and dissident violence

Or, as they say, whatever you are having yourself…. Book yourself in if you are in the city… Or keep an eye on the #UTVtrip hashtag if you want to join in the online crack…

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  • ‘Whatever you are having yourself’ is to be greatly encouraged! It’s always a bit of a problem to get the quiet ones to speak up – and to get the exuberant ones to shut up occasionally 🙂

    Back in the day when our JCSS folks were in full swing building social capital and some of them ‘Derry wans’ were still wrecking the place we adopted the Corrymeela circle encounter; unfortunately we didn’t have their nice bean bags. If there was a lot of new faces we would do the ‘all change’ game to split up the cliques finishing with ‘if you’re sitting beside someone you know CHANGE’. Then it was number 1, 2 around the circle followed by an invitation to the number 2s to start a conversation with the number 1s on their right. And then down to business!!

    I’d imagine that the Altnagelvin business will get a strong airing. Perhaps that little pre-election ‘Dispensing of Sweeties in Derry’ – £10 million for the culture project – will get a mention. Derry has its own version of questionable ‘apolitical’ funding but few people are likely to have stumbled upon it.

    I hope everyone gains from the encounter!!

  • Where have the ‘Derry wans’ all gone? :L

  • Well, I’m still here, Nevin. I called at the cafe mentioned earlier but those behind counter weren’t up to speed. I’ll be around in the morning again.

  • Mick Fealty


    Beidh me ann cead rud ar maidin… chifidh me tu ann?

  • son of sam

    Why the interview with Eamon Mc Cann? Is this as F J H would say the media talking up their own?There is no doubt he will give good value for money , not of course that he will be paid! Eamon at least will no doubt be able to articulate very well why he is standing.If the other journalist candidate,Paul Mc Fadden was there he might explain why he is putting himself forward.Issues that might be discussed would be that elephant in the room in Derry ,namely the Sinn Fein control of the voluntary sector in the city with their placemen/women installed in key positions.Presumably these are funded by the “slush fund” money carve up between D U P/SF.Eamon might be asked whether he envisages the People before Profit party getting any exposure at Free Derry corner or will he be told to go away by those exponents of free speech Sinn Fein!

  • The Raven

    Son of Sam has hit an oft-unspoken nail on the head. The voluntary sector is incredibly clique-y. There are those also waiting to see how the City of Culture funding for community groups “falls out” across the city – and it isn’t in terms of the usual Waterside/Cityside divide. City of Culture will be interesting in many ways other than just the year itself.

    In terms of jobs and infrastructure, I’ll be interested to hear what the perception is from the people themselves. Because the perception about 14 – 18 miles either side of the city walls is that they’ve very little – in comparison – to complain about. Foyle is more than just Derry – alas, I don’t think that will come out in any discussion…

  • I’m afraid, Mick, that my grasp of Irish is confined to ‘abhuil an doras dunta’ and that’s about it. compared to that, I’m fluent in French.

  • Mick Fealty


    You read far to much into far too little.

    Paul is more than welcome to come along (it’s an open event, but I’d prefer it if people would book, since the venue is very small)…

    I’m currently trying to track down a DUPer to talk to… and Martina Anderson has said she’s planning to come along too. Hoping to catch up with Pol Callaghan.

    Madra, sorry, I’m there now…

  • madraj55, in the words of Jim McDonald: “A’ll leave sumthin thar in the mournin, so a will … A’ll see yae thar, so a will?

  • I haven’t watched Corrie since the last time Jim and Liz were in it, I’m here to tell ya’ Nevin. If they make a film about Iris, the actress who plays jim’s wife should get the part.

  • Ok, Mick. I’ll be around all day..

  • The Raven, Wee Alex handed out the sweeties for the ‘city of culture’ a few days before Purdah – £10 million – and now Comical Marty gets to announce the arrival of WOMAD:

    “The international music festival WOMAD is to be held in Londonderry as part of the UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations ..

    Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, is expected to announce further details later.” BBC GMU

    Perhaps during Purdah? Mark Devenport tells us that Purdah rules don’t apply to politicians, just to other public servants.

  • “political interview with Eamonn McCann”

    Of the Gang of Three – John Hume, Martin McGuinness and Eamonn McCann – whatever happened to Eamonn? Why didn’t his star glow in the Derry (or Cookstown) firmament? Why did the gulls follow the other ploughmen? Was he too disrespectful of important men of the cloth?

  • J Kelly

    McCanns star didn’t shine politically because the people of Derry remember that when the going got tough McCann got going and f****** off to the cosy surroundings of Dublin. Hume and McGuinness stayed the course.

    Big issue for this election is Leadership, Experience and Ability to Delivery.

    When Derry has been up against it in recent years Arlene and Gregory attempted to rob Derry of Project Kelvin Sinn Fein delivered. The City of Culture Martin McGuinness went to Liverpool and and clinched the deal. Michael McGimpsey pulled the Radiotherapy Centre Sinn Fein set the pace and others followed when Martin McGuinness guranteed that the next executive would build the centre. Put this alongside the £10million Ministerial Directive for the airport, the Skeoge Link, Maydown Dual Carriageway, St Mary and St Cecials Schools. The A5 and the A6 and without doubt that Sinn Fein have been delivering for Derry.

    I ask one question who has the Experince and Ability to Deliver for Derry. Martina Anderson, Raymond McCartney and Paul Fleming or Colum Eastwood, Young Mark Durkan, Pol Callaghan and Pat Ramsey?

  • “Hume and McGuinness stayed the course.”

    Is McGuinness one of your heroes, J Kelly? Why did he ‘run off’ to Mid Ulster? Why did his heroes spend so much time and effort destroying business in the city?

    Has there not been a lot of hot air expended on the Project Kelvin non-issue? Greg Maguire: “Northern Ireland also benefits from having a super fast fiber optic ring encircling it. .. This means that if a company wanted to build a data centre they can build it at any location on that ring and they will not suffer any speed disadvantage.” .. Bel Tel 01 Dec 2009

    “Ministerial Directive for the airport”

    That would be Minister Conor Murphy? This is the minister who gave us the Rathlin ferry saga/scandal and the NI Water fiasco, including cronyism in the appointment of interim NEDs. Could a Fianna Fail minister have done a better job?

    If Comical Marty has the magic touch why didn’t he ensure that there was sufficient funding in the HSSPS budget for the Altnagelvin radiotherapy centre?

  • righteousbabe

    This thing about McCann “running off” when McGuinness and his lot started murdering all round them is one of the many smears Sinn Fein have been putting around about in the hope of stopping him taking that third SDLP seat that SF hope to claim for themselves. Well, they need to be careful about that one – many people in Derry remember well that McCann always opposed the armed struggle, not out of moralism but because quite rightly he said it would only further divide protestants and catholics and so make a united ireland less likely anytime soon. Anyway, as a woman, I commend McCann for following his then pregnant partner to where SHE had a job – and not doing the usual macho thing of insisting she follows his agenda. As far as the wonderful Nell McCafferty tells it, he only returned to Derry when that relationship ended. But you wouldn’t expect any of the “Big Men” around here to see that kind of carry-on as something to admire in a man.

  • J Kelly

    Mc Cann always opposed armed struggle how did he square these views during his period as a member of the IRSP, only one of many grouping that he has been associated with over the years. By the way he parted company from the IRSP on the grounds that they wanted to view or edit everything he wrote, nothing idelogical or policy. At last years election many of his canvassers and workers would be known locally as so called “dissidents”. and I am sure if you go on the 32csm or republican network sites you will be no doubt on their views on armed struggle.

    Back to the question posed who has the experience and ability to deliver what the people of Derry want and need. SDLP wee boys in suits or Sinn Fein experienced and very capable political activists.

  • righteousbabe

    McCann was never a member of the IRSP – or for that matter People’s Democracy – and he has clarified that on a number of occasions. True, he is friends with a lot of IRSP people and all of them will tell you he was never a member. He attended the founding conference and left when they decided to set up an armed wing. It is true that several of his canvassers and workers last year are ex-Provos, some of them former prisoners, but none were associated with any armed grouping….the only people locally who called them “dissidents” were SF….but then in Derry if you’re a republican and not part of the SF ‘project’, they call you a dissident. McCann is standing for the People Before Profit Alliance, which has in its constitution that membership is not open to anyone associated with a paramilitary group.
    Back to the question posed who has the experience and ability to deliver what the people of Derry want and need? A whole lot of them don’t trust any of the big parties to deliver anything but cuts…….

  • The Raven

    “When Derry has been up against it in recent years Arlene and Gregory attempted to rob Derry of Project Kelvin Sinn Fein delivered.”

    Someone ***really*** needs to do a little bit of reading-up on just why that’s nonsense. Really.

  • Raven. Foster’s rather acid response to the failure to have the hq at Coleraine shows she was bitter about it.

  • The Raven

    Madra – I say it again – someone really needs to do a little bit of reading-up on just why that’s nonsense. I’ll expand it further and say Arlene’s response was nonsense too. This was the most uninformed debate of last year. And it really showed just how parochial this place – and I have to say Derry – really is.

  • I agree, Raven, that there was a lot of crowing on both sides over little of substance. It goes with the territory when you have politicians getting their spin in first