Fears of further collapses

The clean-up operation underway at the site of the collapsed building in The Fountain. (2304PG18)
The clean-up operation underway at the site of the collapsed building in The Fountain. (2304PG18)

There have been calls for an audit of derelict buildings in Derry following the collapse of the old Ulster Unionist Party building in the Fountain.

SDLP councillor John Boyle said that it was only by “the grace of God” that no one was killed or injured when the building - formerly a synagogue - collapsed in Kennedy Place on Friday.

But he says action is now needed to prevent a similar incident from occurring.

”It is long past the time that statutory agencies carried out a full audit of derelict buildings in the Derry City Council area and potentially throughout the north,” he said.

Work was ongoing yesterday in the Fountain to clear up after the collapse.

DUP councillor Gary Middleton said there are a number of buildings within the city that have been derelict for too long.

“Not only are these properties unsightly to look at, but they may also be structurally unsafe,” he said.

Writing in today’s Journal, Mark Lusby of the City Walls Heritage Project says the collapse of the building in the Fountain “is a timely reminder that there is much more work to be done.. if we are to halt the erosion of the very building stock which makes Derry an historic city.”

“In addition to an audit of derelict buildings, the City Council and DOE Environment could at the same time examine the reasons why so many buildings have become derelict and to find solutions to make these buildings used and cared for once again,” he said.