Snow patrols called for after snowballing at Derry interface turned violent

Incidents of snowballing turned into interface violence in the Waterside area of Derry, a local Councillor has said.

The council’s Community Safety Manager will now contact the PSNI to request that extra resources are deployed to some areas of the city at times of snowfall following a proposal from Alderman Niree McMorris at a meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Committee.

The DUP councillor highlighted the issue of interface violence during a discussion on the recent snowfall.

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She said: “The last couple of nights I have been at the interface of Irish Street and Top of the Hill where there has been interface violence starting off with houses being attacked by snowballs but it has escalated into interface violence.

Snowballs (file picture)

“It has been a long few nights and maybe we could make a proposal to speak to the PSNI in regard to putting on extra resources in times of the snow.”

Karen McFarland, Director of Health and Communities suggested contacting the council’s safety expert to ask him to make contact with the PSNI and raise that particular issue in relation to this area and ask it be followed up. Alderman McMorris agreed.

The topic of snowballing was first raised by Alderman Maurice Devenney who suggested parents should be checking on where their children are at times of snow fall.

He said: “The snow falls can be a lot of fun for people out sledging and snowballing but I have heard of a lot of incidents and I even heard on the radio about a driver who had her mother who was over 80 years of age in the car when they had their window broken.

DUP Alderman Niree McMorris.

“There have been a number of snowballing incidents that have taken place on the main road and other roads. We need to call out to parents and ask them where their children are.

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“Yes, snowballing is fun but it’s dangerous when cars are being attacked and windows are being broken.”

Agreeing with Alderman Devenney, SDLP councillor Steven Edwards added: “There have been a number of incidents, especially around Newtownstewart which have been raised with myself. We were all young once and threw snowballs but throwing snowballs at traffic is unacceptable.”

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter