Call for action on ringleaders after Derry bonfire attacks

A passer-by examines the damage caused after an overnight barricade was burned on the Glengalliagh Road close to Moss Park. DER2815MC001
A passer-by examines the damage caused after an overnight barricade was burned on the Glengalliagh Road close to Moss Park. DER2815MC001

The PSNI have been called upon to round up the ringleaders of those behind fires and attacks on emergency services in the Galliagh area.

Parents have also been called upon to check their children’s whereabouts at night as it emerged children as young as 10 were caught up in a series of episodes.

Police came under attack from a hail of missiles earlier on Sunday in the Bogside area, where pallets and rubbish was set alight by youths at the Lecky Road flyover and Westland Street areas.

A PSNI spokesperson said a small group threw petrol bombs and missiles, although there were no injuries.

Western Duty Area Officer Robbie Bryson meanwhile was among those who called on parents to ensure their children are not involved.

Mr Bryson said fire crews went to the Bogside after being alerted by police at around 7.40pm, and hearing there were petrol bombs in the area.

They were then tasked twice to Galliagh, to the Glengalliagh Road area where pallets had been set alight and pulled out on to the road, and Slievemore Roundabout, after being alerted to two other fires between 10pm and 11pm. He said that some objects were thrown at an appliance but there were no injuries.

Sinn Fein Councillor Tony Hassan claimed police knew who the ringleaders were and called on them to act.

Praising the Shantallow Residents Association as they moved in to help clean up the area yesterday, Colr. Hassan said: “The PSNI know exactly who the ringleaders are and I am calling on them to act.

“This is a small number of people hell-bent on causing trouble and it is happening on a bimonthly basis. Residents are fed up of this kind of activity. There’s no reason for it and no need for it.”

Speaking after attending the scene in Moss Park, Independent Councillor Dee Quigley called on parents to know where their children are.

He said: “The residents of Moss Park and Slievemore have had enough of this type of behaviour. I spoke with residents and young people- some of the young people were as young as 11 years of age. This is very concerning for me that young people of this age would be out at this time.”

He said young people were seemingly protesting at 11th night bonfire images on TV, where Irish Tricolour alight. The young people also said they had learned of other trouble in Derry via social media.

“I’m calling for youth initiatives that educate our young people in politics and what impact they can have on communities,” Colr. Quigley said.

PSNI Chief Inspector Andy Lemon said: “Police cannot emphasise enough how dangerous this activity is and how upsetting it can be for local residents. I would appeal to parents to know where their children are and who they are with. Last night some of the youths involved were as young as 10 years of age.

“Parents should advise their children of the seriousness of this type of behaviour which could lead to charges and a court appearance that may adversely affect any future choice of career. It is really important that young people understand this.

“I also want to thank local community representatives who assisted us last night.”