Residents of the Bogside, Brandywell, Foyle Road and Creggan are beginning to notice a new phenomenon - the almost complete lack of graffiti in their areas.
It comes after a major clean-up operation organised by the Triax neighbourhood management team.
Speaking to the Derry Journal this week, Colm Barton, of the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team (NMT) said the graffiti removal was carried out after consulting people who live in the area.
“Over the last few months, with the support of local residents, the Housing Executive, Derry City Council and Roads Service we have been trying to identify and remove graffiti from the entire Triax area.
“This has proven to be a massive undertaking but in recent days we are starting to see the very real and dramatic benefits of the project. Graffiti is disappearing like snow off the ditch and it is our hope and intention that the area is undergoing a sea-change in attitudes to graffiti,” he said.
He also said they plan to continue removing any graffiti if it reappears. “No longer will graffiti be allowed to linger on gable walls, detracting from the appearance of our areas and inviting even more graffiti. We are committed to removing graffiti wherever and whenever it appears and do so confident that the vast majority of residents are supportive of our efforts,” he said.
The project itself has a long history and the Triax NMT has been involved in a series of initiatives over the past three years to improve the physical appearance of the area. This has included mural painting projects at graffiti hot-spots, lobbying statutory agencies and private landlords to take a more proactive attitude to the problem and securing investment to remove graffiti.
Creggan Sinn Féin councillor and member of the Triax team, Kevin Campbell, also welcomed the project. “Since the establishment of Triax one of the major issues that has consistently annoyed residents has been graffiti. It contributes to the general running down of areas and can make them more attractive for other types of anti-community activity, as well as creating a very real sense of unease or even fear amongst residents.
“The effect that this project is having in the local community is marked, and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been stopped on the street and told what a difference this is making. Not only does this demonstrate the impact we are having but it also reinforces our determination to make this happen,” he said.
Community worker Maureen Collins, who works with older people in the Bogside, said; “For the older generation, looking out and seeing graffiti was bringing them down. Now they can look out and see young people removing graffiti and taking pride in their areas.”