Band resigns after speech to SF conference

Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland, Derek Moore, Londonderry Bands Forum and local band member Jennie Johnston
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman, International Fund for Ireland, Derek Moore, Londonderry Bands Forum and local band member Jennie Johnston

One of the 15 bands in the Londonderry Bands Forum (LBF) has resigned over its participation in the Sinn Fein annual conference in the city last weekend.

There were tensions among bands in the city after it was revealed that forum co-ordinator Derek Moore had accepted an invitation to speak - and a warning that other bands could withdraw from the forum in protest.

He told Sinn Fein that “bigotry is everywhere in all communities” and that he hoped his talk would help dispel it and raise debate among republicans “about your current attitude towards us as people, our culture and how we express it”.

Speaking to the News Letter afterwards, Mr Moore said: “It was well received and a lot of the questions and answers revolved around our new education drive to demystify the band scene and about problems with Arts Council funding.”

Even his challenge about bigotry got “a fair hearing” although it might have been controversial to them, he said.

The East Bank Protestant Boys band resigned from the LBF in protest at his attendance.

A spokesman said: “As far as Sinn Fein is concerned, having loyalist bandsmen at their conference allows them to present the positive image that their unionist outreach is working. But in reality they are out to cheat us out of our equality, using Gerry Adams’ Trojan Horse strategy.”