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Tuesday, 17 August, 1999, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Derry parades trouble blights investment hopes
Fire crews camke under attack as they tried to save businesses
Fire crews came under attack as they tried to save businesses
The President of Londonderry's Chamber of Commerce has said the nationalist violence which followed Saturday's Apprentice Boys parade has damaged efforts to attract investment to the city.

John McDaid condemned the violence in which petrol bombs were thrown as buildings and vehicles were attacked on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

He said: ''There is a terrible cost for Derry in terms of the damage that has been done. I have looked around Derry today and I would say that millions of pounds of damage has been done.

John McDaid: Negatives scenes flashed worldwide
John McDaid: Negatives scenes flashed worldwide
''But there is another hidden cost.

''Derry is one of the most deprived areas in Northern Ireland in terms of high unemployment.

''People in the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council and other organisations are doing their best to persuade people to come and here to invest to create jobs. ''But it is very difficult for us to sell the city as a place to invest when the only time it comes on television is in a war-like state.''

Talks broke down

Businessmen from the Town Centre Management group brokered talks between the Protestant Apprentice Boys and the Bogside Residents Group, who opposed the march.

The talks broke down without agreement, forcing the Northern Ireland Parades Commission to make a contentious decision not to re-route the march, part of which skirts the nationalist Bogside area.

Mr McDaid said it was now time for the two groups to get back into talks to prevent future trouble.

He said that the Chamber Commerce intends to go to Derry City Council with another initiative which they hope will help to resolve the dispute for future years.

Up to 70 jobs lost

During the rioting a Kentucky Fried Chicken café and a shop, Whatever Everyone Wants were among premises burned out.

The Search for Peace
SDLP Mayor of Derry Pat Ramsey said that up to 70 jobs may be lost because of damage to businesses.

On Sunday he met workers in tears as they learned that 30 jobs had been lost at their shop.

He said the local economy had suffered and tourism prospects had been damaged.

Councillor Ramsey said: ''This has set us back considerably when we are trying to direct further jobs to this city.

''The Industrial Development Board has gone a long way in trying to secure 70 jobs and now we have lost 70 jobs because of our young people.

''And we have heard about the coach tour operators who have cancelled their trips to the city.''

He condemned the violence and called on parents to take responsibility for their children's actions.

He said: "I am still saddened at the disgraceful and ugly scenes of hijacking and looting that I witnessed.

'It is something that I would have thought the young people of our city had left in the past.

''The main hope that I have now is that this morning we can all get our act together to make sure that those companies who have lost will reinvest back into the city.''

Organised attacks

Assistant RUC Chief Constable in Derry Alan McQuillan said that while some of the violence was as the result of ''drunken hooliganism'' as people left pubs, some attacks were pre-organised and many people took advantage of the situation to loot goods.

He said: ''Petrol bombs had been stock piled and we were able to break up one petrol bomb making factory where there were the makings of another 300".

He added: ''In one of the shops attacked they managed to steal £20,000 of sports equipment before they burned the premises and £7,000 of jeans were stolen from another shop before they set that place on fire.''

Over 100 petrol bombs were thrown and around another 100 were seized. Fire crews attempting to put out fires in the city centre came under attack.

Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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