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Police to crack down on Creggan church gangs

The laneway adjacent to St Marys Church, Creggan, where gangs of unruly drunken teenagers have been gathering in the early hourss.

The laneway adjacent to St Marys Church, Creggan, where gangs of unruly drunken teenagers have been gathering in the early hourss.

Police say they have increased patrols in the vicinity of St Mary’s Church in Creggan where gangs of teenagers have been gathering to drink in the early hours.

The move comes as local priest Rev. Dermott Harkin says he may have to consider leaving the parochial house on Fanad Drive if he can not get to sleep at night.

Fr Harkin says groups of up to 20 young people have been congregating in a laneway close to his home on an almost nightly basis.

He says they have persistently kept him awake at night by “screaming and shouting”, sometimes until dawn.

He told the ‘Journal’: “It’s now got to the point where I may have to go elsewhere to get a few hours sleep. This is the very last thing I want to do.

“As a priest, one of my duties is to live and work within my parish... but, as things stand, I might have no other option but to go somewhere else at night simply to sleep. The situation recently has got totally out of hand.”

Rev. Harkin says he’s worried the situation will only deteriorate as the nights get longer.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell has branded the situation “shameful”.

“It is a shocking and embarrassing indictment on our community when our local priest feels he may have to leave his home at night because of anti-social elements,” he said.

“It is time for people to rally round and let this mindless few know that this sort of outrageous behaviour won’t be tolerated.”

“If a 15-year-old is causing mayhem at 5.30 a.m., you have to ask the question: where are the parents and do they know or even care where their children are?”

A police spokesperson said it had received reports of anti-social behaviour in Fanad Drive on Monday, March 31, and Friday, April 4.

“Police have increased patrols in this area. We’ll enforce the law when criminal or anti-social behaviour is detected,” the spokesperson added.

 

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