The manager of St. Mary’s Youth Club in Creggan has spoken about how young people came to his aid after members of the dissident Republican gang behind the violence in Creggan tried to attack him on Thursday night.
Stevie Mallet was on the ground at the scene of the fatal shooting of journalist Lyra McKee during a night of violence in Creggan on Thursday.
Speaking at the rally in the estate on Friday, he told the crowds gathered at Fanad Drive: “I have been privileged to work with the young people of this community for nearly three decades and in that time we have been through some hard times, but last night was harrowing for all of us.
“The vast majority of our young people don’t support these actions. They didn’t engage in last night’s activities. In fact they stood with us and whenever these thugs tried to have a go at me, our children charged at them to defend me.”
Mr Mallett said many of those young people had spoken out since to say that what happened was not in their name. “This is the responsibility of a very small group of people who have no vision. They offer nothing positive to this community. They have to wake up to the futility of their actions and they have to realise we are not prepared to inflict the trauma of our past on our children and young people.
“This community, despite our differences andour beliefs we all come together,” he said to a round of applause.
Mr Mallett said that he had faith that young people would not allow themselves to be dragged down this dark road. He added: “I think many of those young people who may have supported these people in the past have had a very different attitude today; they woke up with a different mindset.”