'Faceless minority' condemned for attacks on Fountain and police

Gordon McCalmont.
Gordon McCalmont.

A 'faceless minority intent on devastation and disruption' have been condemned after Derry's Fountain Estate was attacked by petrol bombers over the weekend.

Derry's top police officer Superintendent Gordon McCalmont, whose colleagues came under a barrage of missiles when trying to quell disturbances at the interface between the largely nationalist Bishop Street and the cityside's last majority unionist area on Saturday, vowed that those responsible will be pursued to court.

He said: "Shortly before 10 p.m. three petrol bombs were thrown into the Fountain with one of these igniting and two seized intact.

"Police who were deployed to prevent further disorder were subsequently attacked by persons who threw over 30 petrol bombs and missiles at our officers.

"Bricks and bottles were also thrown at property in the area causing mindless damage and putting innocent people at risk. Fortunately, no injuries where sustained, but this violent behaviour simply damages our city and cannot be tolerated."

The Chair of the Derry & Strabane Policing and Community Safety Partnership, Alderman Mary Hamilton, condemned the attacks.

She said: "These attacks and disturbances are not acceptable in our community. The people living in the Fountain Estate have the right to live in peace without fear of attack. Similarly, the people living in the Bogside cannot be held to ransom by a faceless minority intent on devastation and destruction.

“I would appeal to parents to take responsibility for their children to ensure they don’t become involved in this criminality which could ultimately lead to a custodial sentence. I would urge anyone with information on these incidents to contact the PSNI or Crimestoppers immediately.”

Superintendent McCalmont praised people from the Fountain, Bishop Street and Bogside communities who attended the scene over the weekend in an attempt to calm the situation.

He said: "I would like to express my thanks and admiration to those in the community and my colleagues who worked tirelessly to minimise the impacts of this disorder and indeed bring the situation under control.

"I would also appeal to those in the community to use their influence to help us maintain control of the situation so that we do not have a repeat of this behaviour.

"I would, however, like to reassure the community that we will deploy the necessary resources to detect and deter those responsible. Where this is not practicable at the time, we shall seek to gather evidence to bring those responsible before the courts. There will be consequences for those choosing to engage in this type of behaviour.

"I would finish by saying to those responsible to ask themselves what this type of behaviour actually achieves? People from right across the city do not want this kind of activity on their doorsteps and I would urge those engaged in violence and criminal damage to desist from such behaviour immediately".