Drag racing at park ‘putting children at risk’

Sinn Fein Colr. Sandra Duffy pictured previously during a spate of cars being torched at Ballyarnett Country Park.
Sinn Fein Colr. Sandra Duffy pictured previously during a spate of cars being torched at Ballyarnett Country Park.

Derry City & Strabane District Council has warned those involved in ‘drag racing’ at a local public park are putting lives at risk.

The council confirmed it is now working with a range of agencies to address the ongoing issues at Ballyarnett Country Park after the matter was highlighted by Sinn Fein councillor for the area, Sandra Duffy.

New restrictions on vehicular access within the park is one of the measures now being explored.

Colr. Duffy said that there had been reports that drivers were racing each other in cars and vans in the country park, just months after a new children’s play facility opened there. “Local residents and park users have been in contact with me to voice their fears over this activity,” Colr. Duffy said.

“This is a beautiful Country Park used regularly by dog walkers and families enjoying a day out and, more recently, it has seen the opening of a fantastic, state-of-the-art children’s play park, which is widely used by local children.

“It gives me great concern that this activity is going on in the park. This should be a safe space for families and children, not somewhere were parents are worried about cars, motorbikes and even vans racing each other in the park, with the potential of a tragic accident.”

She added: “I have contacted Derry City and Strabane District Council to discuss what measures could be put in place to prevent this activity and have been in contact with the local policing neighbourhood team to ask that they investigate these reports.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council, meanwhile, yesterday confirmed its officers were working with the PSNI and local community representatives “to identify measures to effectively address the issue. Officers have already visited the site to explore options in terms of limiting vehicular access in the area,” she said, adding: “Local Community Safety Wardens have also been monitoring activity in the area and we would encourage the public to report any incidents to the PSNI.

“We would like to remind the parents that the Ballyarnett Country Park is a community amenity used by many families and young children, and such activity presents a serious risk both to those involved and to public safety.”