Calls have been made for opening hours at Derry’s City Cemetery to give the public more access and help deter those who have been desecrating graves.
The call came from Independent Councillor and local undertaker Sean Carr as recent disturbances in the cemetery were discussed during the July meeting of the Council at the Guildhall on Thursday.
The issue was raised by Sinn Fein Councillor Kevin Campbell. Colr. Campbell said that the latest incident just over a week ago was only the latest in a series of episodes of graves being damaged or wrecked by gangs, including some graves over a century old being broken several weeks ago and a car was torched after being abandoned in the lower cemetery last November.
“It’s not a recreational playground,” he said. “It’s a place for people to come and quietly reflect on those buried there.
“The family of the people whose grave was damaged were absolutely distraught. We need to be stepping up security and I am pleased to state Council will now be installing CCTV as a temporary measure within the next week.”
He added that it was sad to see it had had to come to this.
Colr. Carr welcomed the introduction of CCTV but added that the Council should look at the opening times for the Cemetery.
“I think if we were allowing the public access to the cemetery beyond the current times that would help alleviate the problems, as it doesn’t really happen when the public are there.”
Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly supported the calls for longer opening hours during the meeting.
DUP Councillor David Ramsey meanwhile also condemned the incidents in the cemetery and said there had been a spate of anti-social behaviour on both sides of the river over recent times.