‘Not in our name’ - ‘Adults with sinister agendas’ leading young people into violence
Political and business leaders in Derry have warned that adults with ‘sinister agendas’ are misleading young people into violence after meeting with local police chief Darrin Jones.
The meeting was held in the wake of successive nights of violence across predominantly unionist areas of the Waterside area of the city, with warnings that someone could be killed if the disturbances is not stopped now.
The influential group of politicians and business owners met with police on Monday.
In a joint statement afterwards, they said: “Following on from the recent violence on the streets of our City, a number of local political and business leaders met this morning with Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones and decided to issue the following statement.
“We ask everyone within our community to help bring an end to the ongoing cycle of violence that we have witnessed in our City in recent days. It is clear that some of the young people who are involved in this criminal activity are unaware of the consequences of their actions and are being misled by adults with more sinister agendas.
“This violence is putting lives at risk and together we feel we need speak out to ask those who are orchestrating this to stop now, before someone is seriously hurt or a life is lost.
We plead with people from all sides of our community to come together with us and tell these people this activity will not be tolerated and it is not in our name. They cannot and will not succeed.”
On Sunday night violence flared again with petrol bombs and masonry fired at police and the main Derry to Belfast closed for a time in the Irish Street/ Dungiven Road area, where a barricade was set up.
Derry City and Strabane Area Commander, Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones said: ““Again, we saw our officers targeted, pelted with petrol bombs and masonry in the Dungiven Road area where pallets were placed on the road and set alight. This saw the main road closed for a time, causing disruption for local drivers.
“Thankfully, last night none of our officers were injured as they worked to bring the disorder to an end.
“I will reiterate our disappointment that we had another night of senseless and reckless criminal behaviour that achieves nothing but cause damage to the community. It is also shocking that some of those involved in last night’s disorder were children, some as young as 12 years old along with others up to 18 years old and a mix of male and females.
“It is totally unacceptable, and it is crucial we send out a message to those responsible that such behaviour cannot be tolerated.
“People deserve to feel safe within their own homes and be able to walk the streets without fear.
“I am again asking all those in our community with influence to use that influence so we do not see any further disgraceful scenes of violence on our streets and ensure young people do not get caught up in criminality and that they are kept safe and away from harm.
“My job is to keep people safe and I will continue to work alongside local representatives, partner agencies and members of the community to address any issues. I would appeal to everyone in the area to help diffuse any local tensions and prevent any further incidents.”
Speaking recently about the attacks, the Chair of the Derry and Strabane PCSP Policing and Community Safety Partnership Councillor Martin Reilly appealed for parents and guardians to take responsibility for the actions of their children to ensure they are not caught up in rioting and other unacceptable behaviour.
Colr. Reilly said: “I am extremely concerned that some of our young people engaging in these activities are placing their own safety at risk as well as the safety of the police officers they are attacking. These are attacks on our local community and I would urge all parents and guardians to make sure their children do not become involved in these unacceptable behaviours that could bring them to the attention of police. These continued incidents are also placing added, unnecessary strain on our emergency services and are diverting these resources away from caring for our residents.”
He concluded: “The PCSP will continue to work with all our partners to support and protect our young people while ensuring local residents can live in peace.”