McCandless condemns attempt to rename Londonderry

Councillor McCandless
Councillor McCandless

Coleraine Ulster Unionist councillor, William McCandless, has condemned the latest attempt by Sinn Fein to change the official title of the city of Londonderry to Derry.

In a statement, councillor McCandless said: “County Londonderry was created by James I when he granted a charter to the Irish Society at the time of the plantation of Ulster. The charter was established in 1613 and the new county comprised of the existing County Coleraine and part of County Donegal. There never was a County Derry.

“The name Londonderry has long been a shibboleth to Nationalists and Republicans in the city and this is merely the latest of many attempts by Sinn Fein to lose the London connection.

“The fact is that the council name changed in 1984 to Derry City council. The current council is called Derry City and Strabane. One might have thought that that would be enough, but not it would appear for Sinn Fein.

“The official name of the city is Londonderry. That is a name which actually unites the two communities - London for the British tradition and Derry for the Irish tradition. Indeed many Unionists are quite prepared to use ‘Derry’ as a shorthand term in everyday speech, but they are in no doubt that for official purposes the full name of the city is Londonderry.”

The UUP man added: “It is a sad indictment upon Sinn Fein that they are using this issue once again to ferment discontent in the city. It only demonstrates their intolerance for those citizens who cherish their British identity, and does nothing to reassure the minority community that it is welcome and belongs in a shared city.”