Builders have ‘moral duty’ to clean up site

The derelict units in Derry's Bogside.
The derelict units in Derry's Bogside.

A Derry community worker has expressed concerns over the state of derelict units in the Bogside which she said have become a hub for anti-social behaviour.

The units in Meenan Square and the land surrounding them are privately owned by a building firm from outside the city.

According to Bronach McMonagle of Dove House they have fallen into disrepair over the last few years and the situation has become “dire” after the bonfire lit within the grounds earlier this summer.

“Access to the site is quite easy,” she said, “And we are aware of young people getting inside the building and congregating in the area.”

While Dove House have been making all reasonable efforts to engage young people in the area, the bonfire lit earlier this summer caused considerable mess and damage to the site.

“We tried to stop the bonfire, but it went ahead and it was lit too close to the buildings.

“The area, which was run down, is badly scorched and there is a lot of debris lying around.

“As the site is privately owned it is outside the remit of Derry City Council to clean it up - and they have only been able to clean the peripheral area.”

“Slates are falling off the roof. We have no idea how sound the building is. The railings are crooked and the site is a mess.

“Residents living close by have told us they are completely disheartened at having to look out at the mess every day. Some have said they don’t even want to open their blinds.

“In our opinion the owners of the site, McHugh Bros, have not only a legal duty to maintain the safety of the site but a moral duty to the residents of the Bogside to clean up the area.

“So much has been done to clean up the area. Tourists flock in to see the artwork. But the first thing that people are greeted with coming down the Flyover is this awful site.

“Residents who have lived here all their lives deserve better.”

Ms McMonagle added that Dove House had previously tried to purchase the site, with funding from DSD, for refurbishment and expansion of Dove House facilities but that McHugh Bros had rejected the offer made for the property.