Derry’s Peace Park in the dark as lights go out

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Sinn Féin Councillor Sharon Duddy has called for lighting in Derry city centre’s Peace Park after workers complained six ornamental street lamps are on the blink.

Ironically the central ‘Peace Flame’ in the park, which was hampered by technical problems in the years following its ignition by Martin Luther King III in 2013, is now the only light burning in the Foyle Street park.

The issue has now been raised by Colr. Duddy after workers noticed the lack of illumination from the defective lamps in the gloom of the darkening Derry mornings.

She said: “I was contacted at the weekend by someone who works in the city centre concerned that all the lights in the peace park are currently out.

“They have told me all six lights in the park are not working, in fact the only light in the park working is the ‘Peace Flame’.”

Up until May of this year technical difficulties and vandalism had meant that the iconic symbol of peace had worked sporadically at best.

However, works by Derry & Strabane District Council restored the flame to full working order in time for the summer period.

Colr. Duddy has now urged the Council to see if it can take action to fix the street lamps in time for Christmas.

“This is a very busy park with workers using the adjacent car park or commuters simply going to the bus depot on Foyle Street,” she said.

“People are passing through it early in the morning or going home late at night from socialising or shopping in the city.

“So it’s very important as we head into the winter months that these lights are repaired,” she added.

A spokesperson for DC&SDC said it believes the six lights in question belong to TransportNI.

Speaking as the ‘Journal’ went to Press yesterday the Council spokepseron said the local authority’s engineers were going to report the outage to the TransportNI area manager.

TransportNI were unavailable for comment as the ‘Journal’ went to Press on Monday evening.

Mr. King originally lit the flame after visiting Derry for a ‘Bright Brand New Day’ event that was organised by Rev. David Latimer of First Derry Presbyterian Church in 2013.

Speaking at the time Rev. Latimer said: “The dream was conceived, I suppose, from my time in Afghanistan. Of course, I was a chaplain there in the second half of 2008. I encountered what no human being should ever encounter, of war, of the horrific outcome of bombs and bullets and bodies, bodies in body bags that people never see again.”