A plan to offically change the name of Derry city to ‘Derry’ was thrown into chaos this week when three separate motions were voted down at Derry City Council.
Unionists voted alongside the traditionally nationalist SDLP to knock back a Sinn Fein proposal to go ahead with attempts to remove the ‘London’ prefix from the city’s official [British] name.
Sinn Fein Councillor, Kevin Campbell said he was disappointed by the SDLP stance on the name change.
“It is an accepted position that the majority of people when referring to the City call it Derry. Even unionist organizations proudly bear the historic name Derry. What is the SDLP’s problem with proceeding with a council policy which it has already endorsed?
“This debate has been exhaustive and I believe that it is time that decisive action is taken to restore the rightful and historic name to this City. Further prevarication will only add to the confusion when attempting to market the City with a plethora of names.
“It seems that the only consistency in SDLP policy on this as with every other issue is inconsistency.”
Hardline unionist MP Gregory Campbell said the issue of changing the name of the city was now “dead”.
Mr Campbell criticised Sinn Fein for “engaging in wild goose chases”.
“They are still campaigning for a united Ireland, they are not going to get that either.
“They have to get used to the fact you campaign for something and you don’t always get it, but that’s life, you live it and move on.”
The SDLP blamed Sinn Fein. The party’s leader on Derry City Council Helen Quigley said: “The SDLP has always been fully supportive of moves to have Derry officially recognised as the name of our city.
“However, we will not support a process that jeopardises this objective.”
Ms Quigley said concerns had been raised by the Equality Commission and the Community Relations Council.
“Sinn Fein’s plan to petition the Queen is open to legal challenge and is doomed to failure at the hands of her inner council,” she added.
She said the SDLP put forward “a sensible proposal” to form a working group of the political parties in Derry to meet with the relevant agencies “to progress this issue in a strategic fashion”.
“Unfortunately other parties including Sinn Fein would rather play political games and voted against this idea and a subsequent plan put forward by the SDLP for group leaders to come together to work out a possible way forward.”