The DUP have condemned sectarian ‘Fenians Out’ graffiti daubed on a wall along the Limavady Road.
DUP Councillor David Ramsey said his party made contact with the council and the city centre manager to have the graffiti removed as soon as they were made aware of it.”
Police are treating the sectarian message, painted on a wall opposite the Council’s Foyle Arena sports complex and near an integrated primary school, as a “hate crime”.
Colr. Ramsey said there was a sinister group or groups trying to raise tensions in the area over the past several weeks.
He said: “We have been speaking to young people in the area who are out late at the bonfire sites and although there is anger in the Waterside after many attempts to create tensions, they want no part of this counter productive retaliation.
“We said over the last few weeks there is a sinister group or groups involved in raising tensions and we are assured this is not any young people involved in what is a week of celebration of Londonderry and it’s cultural history.
“It has also been made clear that the residents of the Waterside just want to live in peace. The week of festivals are going well and we all look forward to the Relief of Derry celebrations on Saturday.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson said yesterday that he believed the graffiti was designed to intimidate users of the Council-run sports complex and nearby St Columb’s Park.
Colr. Jackson warned that there can be no ‘no go’ areas in Derry, and that the vast majority of people in the Waterside from all traditions did not support such actions.
Colr. Jackson was made aware of the graffiti by people arriving at the Foyle Arena yesterday morning.
He said: “It is disappointing to see this but it is not surprising. Over the last few weeks there has been a concerted effort to raise tensions in the area and this is just another attempt to make people feel unwelcome while they are using the Foyle Arena or St Columb’s Park.
“The message we need to get out is that all council facilities are open to everybody and there is no place for sectarianism anywhere. We have to ensure people feel safe and comfortable using Foyle Arena and St Columb’s Park, and that there are no ‘no go’ areas in the city, despite what some people might want to create.”
A PSNI spokesman meanwhile confirmed: “Police received a report of sectarian graffiti on a wall at Limavady Road on Monday 7th August. The graffiti was painted sometime overnight between Sunday 6 and Monday 7 August. The incident is being treated as a hate crime.
“Officers would ask anyone with any information to contact them at Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 371 07/08/17 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”