Weekend of ‘mindless’ carnage condemned

The scene near Free Derry Corner on Saturday evening after a car was hijacked and set alight. (1007PG100)

The scene near Free Derry Corner on Saturday evening after a car was hijacked and set alight. (1007PG100)

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Local councillors have condemned a series of incidents in the Bogside and Brandywell area over the weekend in which a car was burned, firefighters attacked, and almost 2,500 homes left without power.

The spate of vandalism began on Friday night when an electricity substation at the Daisyfield in the Foyle Road area was set on fire.

The phone box which was destroyed at Fahan Street. (1007MM02)

The phone box which was destroyed at Fahan Street. (1007MM02)

The fire led to power cuts in around 2,345 homes in the Creggan, Brandywell, and Bishop Street areas and the repair bill is estimated to be in the region of £50,000.

Power was restored to the majority of homes by 10.45pm and the remainder had power restored by 11am on Saturday.

Members of the Fire Service attending the scene of the fire were attacked by stonethrowers.

Stephen Harper, Duty Incident Manager with NIE, warned that tampering with susbstaions could have fatal consequences. “We cannot stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to tamper with electricity substations. Substations contain live equipment energised at several thousand volts of electricity. These vandals were lucky to make it out with their lives. As it is, they caused considerable inconvenience to the local community and the deliberate damage is likely to run up a repair bill of around £50,000,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon a car was set on fire at the bottom of the Lecky Road Flyover and firefighters attending the scene were again attacked by stonethrowers.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Patricia Logue condemned those responsible for the attack.

“Around teatime on Saturday night a number of community workers went to the Lecky Road Flyover following reports that a car was on fire. On arriving they found a car with smoke damage to its interior and made arrangements for the car to be taken from away the scene. Sadly before the removal lorry could arrive the car was set on fire for a second time and gutted. The Fire Service attending were attacked by stone throwers and had to withdraw from the area.

“I condemn outright those involved in this disgraceful attack on the Fire Service. These acts are carried out by mindless people and serve no purpose whatsoever and could have led to serious injury to Fire Service personnel.

“It’s vital the message goes out that these attacks are totally wrong and will only have a detrimental effect on any area. And the great work that goes on in the community.

“The men and women of the Fire Service are dedicated to saving life and property and must be in a position to carry out their work without the threat of attack,” she said.

The vandalism and attacks continued on Sunday when a phone box on Fahan Street was set alight. It was also reported that a petrol bomb was thrown at a bus travelling on Lecky Road.

Local councillor Colly Kelly condemned the incidents. “There has been a worrying catalogue of incidents in the Bogside over the weekend. It’s very clear that there are a small number of people with criminal intent who want to terrorise, cause havoc and destruction in the area.

“The community has shown time and time again that they don’t want this nonsense to happen, it should be stopped immediately,” he said.

Colr. Kelly also said that there is no support in the area for such activity.

“Those involved in these actions have only succeeded in terrorising their own communities by inflicting inconveniences upon them.

The area has been relativity quiet in recent months. There is a lot of great work going on at community level and the last thing local people want to see is an upsurge in this sort of carryon.

“Those responsible for this criminal activity need to be taken off our streets and brought before the courts,” he said.