Bird watching shelter gutted by arsonists

The burned remains of the bird watching facility close to Fort George. (1008MM05)
The burned remains of the bird watching facility close to Fort George. (1008MM05)

Calls have been made to rebuild a bird watching shelter close to Fort George which was burned earlier this week.

The wooden structure, overlooking the Penny Burn close to the riverside walk, was destroyed in the blaze on Monday.

The facility allowed people to observe the wildlife, including ducks and oyster catchers, which gathers at the mouth of the Penny Burn where it joins the Foyle.

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson described the destruction of the bird watching shelter as “scandalous” and called for it to replaced as soon as possible.

“A lot of work has gone on over recent years to enhance areas right along the river front, this bird watching facility being just one of them. It’s scandalous that anyone would even contemplate attacking such a facility.

“Hopefully the wooden structure damaged in this attack which can rebuilt as soon as possible. We cannot let a very small minority undo the good work that is going on in Derry,” she said.

SDLP councillor John Boyle also criticised the attack on the shelter. “It is obvious that structures like this don’t simply spontaneously combust.

“This was an act of deliberate destruction by people who, on the face of it, appear to be no more than mindless vandals who are only happy when they are making other people miserable and unhappy.

“This was a simple wooden structure at the mouth of the Penny Burn where it meets the river Foyle at Fort George. In effect it was a place of shelter and also a vantage point from where children and adults were able to enjoy the local wildlife.

“It was an extremely popular facility and whoever carried out this attack cannot and will not be allowed to spoil things for everyone else. It is time for these vandals to grow up and wise up because this sort of thing isn’t big and it isn’t clever,” councillor Boyle said.