'˜Give young people a future to take hold of'
One of the founders of Dove House has called on politicians to do more to help provide a future for young people.
Frankie McMenamin was speaking in the wake of a series of attacks on the community facility in the Bogside.
Mr. McMenamin said that while there could be no excuse for the attacks, young people generally needed to be given positive goals and opportunities.
He said: “I am very angry about Dove House being attacked. A lot of these young people, their own parents use Dove House for a range of service.
“Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the other politicians need to be putting more into our communities because there is absolutely nothing there except for one or two clubs.
“Most young people are decent young people, they just need more opportunities and alternatives, to get them off the streets, but none of that justifies attacking community facilities.
“I grew up in the ‘Troubles’ and there was nothing much for us, but even back then people didn’t attack their own communities.”
He said, however, that communities were promised a brighter future post-Good Friday Agreement and that now needed to be delivered upon.
“Personally, I can’t see that happening,” he said.
Mr. McMenamin said there were people working in the community on the ground doing the best that they could with limited resources, but warned that “more money needs to be pumped in.
“You have young people with no jobs, others on £7 an hour and zero contracts and they can’t see a future. They can’t save because every single penny is going out.
“You have young people there who have dropping out of school and there needs to be something there to give them a real interest and something they can take forward to the future.
“The danger is if it is not sorted, you may have young people drawn towards paramilitary groups.
“If you don’t have a future, if you don’t have work, it’s going to sound exciting to join these groups and nobody wants to go back to the past.
“I think there is a lot of frustration with young people in the community, but its not Dove House, its politicians that need to be doing more. The politicians need to be getting their act together. Collectively more needs to be done.”
Dove House was petrol bombed twice last week, in the latest in a series of attacks which have caused thousands of pounds of damage. Other incidents have involved paint bombing, pallets being stacked against the building and set alight and perimeter wall stones being damaged