‘Parents are key to bonfire night’ - SDLP

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dj news

As residents of Moss Park, Galliagh and Glengalliagh brace themselves for the traditional August 15 bonfires tomorrow, one local councillor said parents have the answer to 99% of the anti-social behaviour problems associated with the night.

Councillor Jimmy Carr praised the work of local community groups who he said are working hard in order to off set any possible anti-social behaviour but the key is the parents.

He continued; “I would urge them to know where their children are, what they are doing and where they are doing it, especially on Wednesday evening.”

Appealling directly to the youth of the area Colr Carr also said: “Please don’t get involved in any actions which would in effect put peoples lives at risk.”

Colr Carr praised community youth organising Off The Streets for the work they do. He said the work of local community groups is more reflective of Galliagh than that offered by a minority of its youth.

A host of “diversionary and developmental programmes” have been put in place in order that issues of anti-social behaviour often associated with the annual August 15 bonfires are avoided.

Catherine O’Donnell, project co-ordinator with Off the Streets, said local community groups have worked together in order to minimise the trouble which is often a feature of the August bonfires.

“When the situation arose in Moss Park we met with other community and statutory agencies. So with funding from Derry City Council’s PCFP fund we are initiating a number of diversionary and developmental programmes.”

Mrs. O’Donnell added: “While we are not a policing organisation, our staff will be on the streets tomorrow evening to engage with the young people of the area.

“We, in partnership with other community groups, have worked hard to offer the young people of the area an alternative to a bonfire.

“Our aim is to decrease tensions and fears and help avoid the problems which beset the area last month and in August of last year.”

Activities range from a three day sporting event to a residential with those young people who were on the fringes of the trouble last month. The residential, to Todd’s Leap, will leave and return on Thursday.

“This isn’t just about the young people, though, as it will help residents by easing their concerns,” explained Mrs. O’Donnell.

The Outer North 2012 Olympic Finals will be hosted at Shantallow Community Centre, Leafair Pitches and Cornshell Fields tomorrow evening from 8-10pm.

Other events will run throughout the month of August.

A spokesperson for The Northern Ireland Fire Brigade has said that, unlike previous years, it will not be providing additional resources on Wednesday night.