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Alan Shatter defends use of Londonderry in Dail debate

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has explained his reference to Londonderry in Dail Eireann by saying that he sometimes uses the name always employed by the Unionist community.

The use of the controversial name of the north western city provoked an online storm of criticism and trended on Twitter with some posters even calling for his resignation.

"I would use either the term Derry or Londonderry interchangeably - it's used by the two different communities in Northern Ireland," he told the BBC.

"The Catholic community refers to Derry, the Protestant community refers to Londonderry.

"It's a place that I want to see live in peace and I don't have hang-ups about which name you attach to it.

"I tend to use Derry more frequently than Londonderry, simply because of my interest in soccer and catching up with Derry City on occasions."

During a Dail debate on the renewal of the Offences Against the State Act 1998, introduced after the Omagh bombing in 1998, the minister went through the rationale behind continuing with the anti-terrorism laws.

He listed attacks by dissident Republican groups in Northern Ireland, including "two pipe bombs set off in Londonderry on the 19th of January 2012".

The reference to Londonderry was in the paper, electronic and verbal versions of the speech.

Derry was first given the name Londonderry in 1613 and the official title has been a bone of contention ever since.

Irish Independent