05 March 2018
The DUP’s East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell and Foyle MLA Gary Middleton have responded to the publication last week of a Report which was initiated by the Pat Finucane Centre on the movement of thousands of Protestants from Londonderry’s West Bank during the early part of the Troubles.
DUP Spokesman on International Development and Cabinet Office
Mr. Campbell said, “The report headlines itself as "Protestant Migration from the West Bank". 'Migration' is a term more commonly used to describe a natural phenomenon among some birds who migrate for the winter, who usually return when the weather improves. The primary and overwhelming cause of the exodus from the West Bank was intimidation and violence. They did not ‘migrate’ and 99% of them never returned.
There was obvious and naked sectarianism in the campaign which resulted in people fleeing the West Bank of the Foyle. Those who authored this report should listen to the voices of people directly affected and who have spoken of how the report seeks to “diminish” their experience. They should not diminish it by increasing the significance of peripheral factors, by painting it as part of a much longer term pattern or blaming unionism for 90% of the Protestant population leaving the West Bank in ten years.
Instead of attempting to rewrite history, we should ensure future generations do not forget the reality of what happened as it has been chronicled on film, in print and on stage. No one should be subjected to any rewriting of this part of our shared history.”
Mr. Middleton said, “Over the years there have been attempts to justify, rewrite and portray the exodus of Protestants from the West Bank of Londonderry as being something much different from the reality at the time.
The factual, evidence based position has been well documented by the thousands who were intimidated and attacked from their homes and who were left with no choice but to move out for the safety of themselves and their families.
The truth has become uncomfortable for some however any attempts to rewrite the past will continue to be refuted.”