H.E. land being used to store bonfire items

Youths from the area pictured at Meenan Square  yesterday afternoon making ready for the upcoming 15th August bonfire. DER3215MC006
Youths from the area pictured at Meenan Square yesterday afternoon making ready for the upcoming 15th August bonfire. DER3215MC006

The body responsible for a piece of land in the Bogside area have been contacted by the Housing Executive (H.E.) after it emerged young people were using the site as a place to store items to be burned on the August bonfire.

The HE owns the land in question in Meenan Square but have leased it out to a private body.

The ‘Journal’ has learned that a lorry delivered a large quantity of tyres to the location last week but when contacted by the public the HE helped to remove the tyres from the area.

“We are aware that some units [at the site] are currently vacant and have advised the leaseholder of their responsibilities and duties regarding the buildings.

“We did receive a request to assist with tyre removal from the area last week and co-operated by supplying two skips to remove a number of tyres,” said a H.E. spokesperson.

It is unclear where this year’s August bonfire will take place in the Bogside.

The ‘Journal’ visited the site being used to store the bonfire material yesterday.

There was a large amount of commercial wooden pallets and disused furniture such as sofas and chairs. There was also signs telling people where to dump bonfire material and each was signed ‘BRY’ (Bogside Republican Youth).

One resident, who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals, said he couldn’t believe the young people were able to use the piece of land so freely.

“My mother and father are from this area and this is where I have grown up. I can’t get over how run down that building has become and how can the people in charge sit idly by while the young people use it to store tyres and all kinds of things? The building is lying empty but some of the young people have been able to open the doors and get inside. It’s typical of this town - things only get done when someone gets hurt or loses their life. It shouldn’t have to be like this.”

Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency are also aware of the situation.