Unionist describes Derry as being 'full of work dodgers'

David Vance stood for the TUV in East Belfast in the 2010 general election
David Vance stood for the TUV in East Belfast in the 2010 general election

A FORMER TUV general election candidate has been condemned for referring to Derry as "an intolerant Irish republican hole full of work dodgers."

David Vance, who unsuccessfully stood for the party in the 2010 East Belfast election gaining 5 per cent of the vote, received criticism after posting the comment on Twitter.

After being referred to by one Twitter user as "the Irish Katie Hopkins," Mr Vance replied that "one in eight were on DLA" and also claimed that the decline of the Protestant population in Derry city was proof "of ethnic cleansing."

Asked if he would move to Derry to experience the city, Mr Vance responded: "Pluto seems more enticing."

Mr Vance, who has run his own marketing business for over two decades and also writes a political blog, posted the tweet about a motion to change the official name of the city from Londonderry to Derry.

In his blog, A Tangled Web, the former TUV candidate went further, calling Derry "a lamentable place."

He wrote: "I think Londonderry represents much that is wrong in N. Ireland. It has a disproportionately large number of people claiming welfare benefit - surprise surprise."

Mr Vance added: "It has more than a residue of terrorist culture as the recent funeral show for the INLA demonstrated. All in all, it is a lamentable place."

The name change motion was passed at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council last week, with Sinn Féin, the SDLP and independents all voting in favour.

Derry City and Strabane District Council is now set to write to Environment Minister Mark H Durkan, urging him to clarify the name.

Unionists have reacted angrily to the proposal, describing it as "sectarian" and "disgusting", with some claiming the name Londonderry represents both nationalist and unionist traditions.

A previous Sinn Féin attempt to have the name changed in 2010 was voted down by the SDLP and unionist parties.