An open letter to dissidents: The latest bomb attacks on Londonderry/Derry demonstrate the contempt in which you hold each and every citizen of this city. You have chosen to exclude yourselves from the political process and because of this you have no voice, and certainly no mandate.
Yet, despite this, you have chosen to hold our city to ransom. As you know only too well, your bombs are an economic attack on the people of the city and on the city of Derry itself. We all know that your objective is to destroy the economy of our city. That also means the destruction of our children’s future. Our city is increasingly blighted by the emigration of its young people, not only to Great Britain but also to Australia and other countries. Is this really the political objective that you are fighting for?
Every time there is a bomb attack on Derry, more businesses are put at risk of closure. Such economic damage cannot possibly contribute towards the creation of a united Ireland.
Instead, your actions are a clear attempt to reduce the chances of unemployed people in this city obtaining the jobs that they need to have a better quality of life. That includes the young people in economically distressed areas such as Creggan, the Bogside, Brandywell, Shantallow and Galliagh, where unemployment is so high. Why are you trying to increase joblessness in areas in such distress?
Our society wants to move on, the vast majority in our society are engaged in an agreed democratic process. This is light years away from our troubled past. The people of Derry have shown tremendous resilience and outstanding leadership. The city is committed to working together to build a brighter future.
Despite your bombs, we will redouble our efforts to cement peace in our society and to build a prosperity that benefits all of our society. We remain focused on developing business opportunities, promoting Derry’s creative and digital economy, building a robust cultural infrastructure and bringing jobs to the city.
We are also determined that next year, our year as the UK City of Culture, will be a fantastic showcase for the city. Nothing you can do will change that.
We realise that you oppose us in this — but we have yet to hear any attempt at a sensible political argument in favour of your destructive actions. The door remains open for you to engage in political debate — we would welcome that. Politics is the constructive avenue that you must engage in.
Those who continue to perpetuate such reckless behaviour upon the community of Derry have no regard for this city or its people. When you bomb us you lose your right to claim any love for our wonderful city.
Sinead McLaughlin, chief executive, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce
Padraig Canavan, president, Londonderry Chamber of Commerce
Ivan Cooper, veteran civil rights leader;
Michael Doherty, Peace and Reconciliation Group;
Deirdre Heenan, provost, Magee University;
Liam Gallagher, secretary of Derry Trades Council; SDLP MLA
Former mayor of Derry Colum Eastwood;
SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan;
UUP Derry City councillor Mary Hamilton;
William Hay, Foyle MLA;
Stephen Martin, PSNI commander;
Billy Moore, general secretary Apprentice Boys of Derry;
Jeanette Warke, project manager Cathedral Youth and Community Centre;
Caroline Temple, Irish Street Community Centre;
Monsignor Eamon Martin, Derry diocesan administrator;
Fr Michael Canny, Derry diocesan spokesman;
David Latimer, minister of the First Derry Presbyterian Church, Sharon