Anger at Dove House vandalism attack

Local Councillors, community representatives and staff from Dove House which was vandalised on Saturday afternoon. DER3213SL104

Local Councillors, community representatives and staff from Dove House which was vandalised on Saturday afternoon. DER3213SL104

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Vandals who targeted Dove House advice centre in the Bogside have been condemned by local politicians and community workers.

Paint bombs were thrown at the outside of the centre, which offers benefit and employment advice, over the weekend.

Those responsible also gained access to a number of rooms inside the building, breaking windows and splattering paint on walls.

‘IRA’ and ‘Touts Out’ were also painted on the walls and ground outside the building.

It’s the latest in a series of graffiti attacks on the building in recent months.

Dove House staff, community workers and local politicians attended a demonstration in support of the work of the centre yesterday afternoon as the clean up operation got underway.

Around 100 people attended the vigil at Dove House including a number of local councillors and representatives of other community organisations from the local area.

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin described the latest attack on the building as an attempt to intimidate the entire community.

“It’s absolutely scandalous that anyone would even contemplate attacking Dove House,” she said.

“It’s clearly an act of intimidation against staff and the local community and follows on from a catalogue of attacks on this building in recent times.

“Dove House is the heartbeat of the area. The work of the staff and volunteers of the many groups which operate from it is immeasurable.

“We cannot let the bullying actions of a very small minority undermine the great work that goes on there. There can be no rationale or excuses given for it, it’s wrong full stop,” she said.

Ms McLaughlin also encouraged local people to support the staff at Dove House. “We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone at Dove House; these attacks have to end and they have to end now,” she said.

Brónach McMonagle, manager of Dove House, also condemned the attacks but said it would not deter staff at the centre from their work.

The centre provides advice to local people about all aspects of the benefits system and Dove House advice workers have recently been involved in campaigns against benefit cuts and in highlighting concerns over the controversial ATOS work assessments for people in receipt of incapacity benefit.

Dove House was established by volunteer community workers who moved into a derelict house more than 20 years ago.