Posted by: the watchmen | January 2, 2008

Ethnic Cleansing in Londonderry.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Protestant population in Londonderry’s Cityside has dwindled by more than 97%, a shocking new investigation reveals today.

A new documentary, to be screened next week, will show that less than 500 Protestants now remain on the west bank of Derry, less than 3% of the 18,000 housed there in 1969.

The shocking statistics – released today – were unearthed during research for a BBC One NI film, to be screened on Wednesday, January 9. The show will examine the reasons why such a major migration has taken place over the past 35 years.

Exodus, an Open Reel Production for BBC Northern Ireland, has recorded the stories of those families who fled their homes during some of the worst years of the Troubles.

The programme also hears from those people who chose to stay.

The majority of Protestants left on the Cityside now live in the Fountain estate to the rear of St Columb’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. The last predominantly Protestant school on the west bank meanwhile, Foyle and Londonderry College, will be moving to a new site in the Waterside over the next few years.

In addition to the ordinary stories of the city’s Protestant population, Exodus will feature contributions from DUP MP Gregory Campbell, journalist and civil rights activist Eamonn McCann, Church of Ireland Bishop James Mehaffey, former UUP Mayor of Derry Jack Allen and former SDLP Mayor John Tierney.

Mr Campbell said today he believed Protestants left for a range of reasons, including intimidation, the change on the security situation and an increased sense that they were under threat.

He claimed today: “Undoubtedly I think the exodus is one of the great untold stories of the past 40 years.

“There is a huge denial complex in the nationalist community about why it happened and the part many of its leaders played.

“Some of those who moved would have had relatives either murdered or threatened because they were in the police or the UDR.”

The programme examines Derry’s historical significance to Protestantism in Ireland, which is rooted in the Siege.

It also looks at the real impact of the outbreak of the Troubles in 1969 on its Protestant population.

Using archive footage, it recalls some of the lowest points for Derry during the Troubles, which saw the killings of innocent civilians and members of the security forces, and looks at how communities were split along sectarian lines.

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