Statement from Saoradh Doire
Junior McDaid House ( IRPWA & Saoradh Derry office) wishes to bring clarity around the ongoing issue of the historical and annual internment bonfire in the Bogside.
Bonfires in Nationalist areas are nothing new; they have had a religious aspect long before they were used to mark British internment.
We as Republicans have been engaging with the youth of the Bogside for many months on this issue. It was an opportunity for us to debate ideas in a constructive environment.
The reality is that in Ireland today internment is being used North and South against Republicans who refuse to follow the status quo. Locally we have Tony Taylor ripped away from his family. In Dublin, Saoradhs Kevin Braney and Ciaran Maguire found themselves remanded with no evidence provided.
In our developing relationship with the youth, it was clear that there is a trust issue with the establishment parties/ PSNI. They feel criminalised and marginalised. The youth accept that anti social activity around the fire in recent times was used by those who are from an anti bonfire persuasion.
The talks around the fire broke down on many issues. Again lack of trust and feeling lied to were reasons put forward by the young people. So the youth, as expected, dug their heels in. But after dialogue and engagement with Saoradh, they have agreed in our eyes to a mature and sensible way forward.
The youth of the Bogside want it made clear that this decision was made with respect for their own community. The fire will not take place on the road, but a safe distance from houses up on the embankment. There will be no tyres on the fire or electoral placards.
The bonfire material will be moved in the coming days and the area around the flyover cleaned up. The youth involved in building the fire who have entered dialogue with Saoradh are asking that anyone intent on causing trouble stay away from the fire.
Saoradh wants to take this opportunity to applaud and commend our local youth for having the foresight and willingness to reach this decision.
Unlike others, Saoradh does not want to see our young people criminalised. We strongly call on all establishment parties and the Crown Forces not to engage in any derogatory manner that would jeopardise this welcome development.