Tensions higher in Derry after parade incidents
Tensions higher in Derry after parade incidents


A Derry businessman was “kicked in the head” by a sashed member of the Apprentice Boys on Saturday afternoon following a major parade by the loyalist marching organisation.

The ‘Relief of Derry’ march to celebrate a 17th century Protestant battle victory is the largest of the year by the Apprentice Boys and involves thousands of loyalists parading provocatively through the overwhelmingly nationalist city.

Damian Lynch, who owns a shop in the Waterside area of the city, had finished hosing and disinfecting the alleyway adjacent to his premises.

Damian’s daughter Gemma explained that the odour from the alleyway had become unbearable as marchers had been urinating there all day. Her father was set upon as he was attempting to deal with the problem.

Gemma, who was also working in the shop on Saturday, said: “The smell was overpowering. It was disgusting. They were just urinating into our yard at the back of the shop. I spoke to them but it made no difference.

“My Daddy also went down to Victoria Gate a couple of times and asked the on-duty PSNI officers to intervene. There were PSNI members sitting in Landrovers and police cars. They told him they would get somebody to come up to the shop, but nobody appeared. In fact, there was no police presence on Spencer Road all day.

“At about half-past four, we started to do our cleanup, putting the shop back to the way it normally is. My Daddy went up the alleyway, which the marchers had been using as a toilet all day, with the hose from the yard and a bottle of bleach to clean up. He had just finished when a person we believe was a member of the Apprentice Boys, because he was wearing a suit and a sash, came up the lane. Daddy said, ‘Are you serious? I’ve just cleaned up there. There are portaloos in the car park.’ The man, who was in his 40s, more or less told Daddy he was going to the toilet in the alleyway whether Daddy liked it or not, but not as politely as that,” said Gemma.

According to Gemma, some water from the hose sprayed his feet and the man became angry.

“He came over and got into my Daddy’s face and started pushing him. My Daddy was saying, ‘Go on with yourself,’ but the man kept pushing.

“My Daddy went to walk away and come back into the yard and forget about it, but the man came at him again and pushed him.

“Daddy slipped in the water and he fell down on his hands and knees, and this man just came and kicked my Daddy one awful boot up the face, the way you would kick a football. He knocked my Daddy out and just left him lying on the ground. He just walked on. Daddy thought he was kicked in the mouth.

“Unbelievably, he joined the back of the lodge he was with, which was from outside the town, and they marched out the Prehen Road to get on their bus to go home, as if nothing happened,” she said.

Her father’s face “was pure red and covered in blood,” she said, and he was left in severe pain, but somehow avoided a skull fracture.

Gemma said that after the initial shock and disbelief, she and her father were “very angry” about what happened, but that it could have ended up as a mob attack.

“We might be dealing with something a whole lot worse today,” she said.

“If the police had sorted out the public urination situation like Daddy asked twice on Saturday, this would not have happened,” said Gemma.

SDLP Assembly member Sinead McLaughlin said the incident was “deeply shocking.”

“There is no cause for such a totally unacceptable and violent act, and to think of his children seeing him in this condition is just awful,” she said.

There were sectarian incidents during the parade itself. Loyalist paramilitary banners were marched through the centre of the city, with prominent unionist councillors marching behind them.

The march also saw a repeat of the problems that drew large-scale protests in the past, with ‘drive-by’ insults and smears directed at Catholics and incendiary, sectarian singing.

The march, the largest of the year by the Apprentice Boys, followed sectarian anti-Catholic displays at bonfires on the eve of the march.

However, the PSNI have confirmed they will only be investigating allegations of sectarianism at the two small remaining nationalist bonfires of the year, which took place in the Creggan and Galliagh areas of the city earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, a loyalist bonfire builder suffered serious injuries after falling from a pyre, which took place in Derry at the weekend with the approval of the authorities.

The man, who is in his early 20s, fell from a bonfire at Sperrin Park in the Waterside area of the city on Friday night. He was first taken to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry but later transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

He is the fourth victim of giant loyalist bonfires in the Six Counties, which largely take place on council land but without intervention from the council authorities. Last year, one loyalist died after falling from a bonfire he was helping to build at a council site in Larne, County Antrim.

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