Northern Ireland news

Karen Bradley urged to increase security at Derry interface

Secretary of State Karen Bradley was accompanied by Derry city centre manager Jim Roddy on a walk across the city's Peace Bridge. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

KAREN Bradley heard calls for increased security measures along Derry’s Fountain interface during a visit to the enclave yesterday.

The Secretary of State met residents of the only Protestant estate on the west bank of the Foyle to discuss recent attacks.

Petrol bombs and other missiles were thrown into the area from Long Tower during a week of disturbances in Derry earlier this month.

Mrs Bradley also met residents of the nearby Bogside.

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The Tory MP was criticised by the DUP in the aftermath of the Fountain attacks for failing to visit the area.

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell and Foyle MLA Gary Middleton pointed out that the Republic’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, had been to the Fountain while she had not.

 Rioting erupted in Derry's Bogside around the Twelfth demonstrations. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Mr Middleton said yesterday that while the delay was regrettable, he welcomed the secretary of state's visit.

“She heard the concerns of residents and saw at first hand some of the good work being done at the Fountain youth club,” he said.

Mr Middleton said some residents urged Ms Bradley to support the heightening of an interface peace wall.

“She did not express a view but said she would take the comments on board and would talk to the Department of Justice."

The Secretary of State also held talks with Sinn Féin leaders, during which the case of Tony Taylor was raised.

The Derry republican has been held in Maghaberry Prison without charge or trial since March 2016 after his early release licence was revoked by then secretary of state Theresa Villiers.

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney said the delegation reminded Ms Bradley of the “considerable strain” his detention was having on his family.

Before leaving the city, she also met political, civic, education and business leaders to discuss Derry’s bid for a British government 'City Deal'.

Chamber of commerce president Jennifer McKeever told Mrs Bradley that a good economic deal for Derry would be the “antidote” to Brexit.

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