A grieving mother has said she has been discussing moving the grave her baby daughter following the latest antisocial incident at the city cemetery - in which a car was burned out just feet from graves.
Gemma Bradley, whose daughter Lily-Rose was still-born in 2013 - having been diagnosed with Trisomy 18, said she has made numerous representations to Derry City and Strabane District Council over the last year as incidents of antisocial behaviour and vandalism have increased at the cemetery.
Is the sanctity of this peaceful place no longer respected by our young?Pat Ramsey, MLA
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ this morning, Gemma said she had been unable to sleep last night worrying about her daughter’s final resting place.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have contacted the Council - but nothing ever gets done.
“I feel sick every time I visit Lily-Rose, especially after weekends - because you don’t know what you will find.”
Gemma said people had been using the cemetery as a drinking den - and leaving broken bottles lying on graves, destroying floral tributes and having “no respect for the dead”.
“It is painful enough to have to go and visit your child in the cemetery. We would much prefer to have Lily-Rose with us, but to go and not know what you will find? That is devastating. We shouldn’t have to be afraid of visiting our daughter’s grave.”
SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey added his disgust at the vandalism last night.
He said: “There is palpable anger in the city following the disgraceful actions of these thoughtless thugs.
“The destruction of property is as pointless as the desecration of the sacred space of the Cemetery.
“Is the sanctity of this peaceful place no longer respected by our young? This isn’t the first instance of vandalism occurring there in recent times. Have we no respect left for property or the dead.
“This car was burnt yards from where I have family and friends buried and I have been a regular visit to where this car was burnt.
“There are now accessibility issues for anyone tending a grave this morning. However I would thank the council workers for their efforts in tidying up and of course our sympathies go to those whose car was destroyed.
“I find it disgraceful that some people find it acceptable to burn a car in the City Cemetery beside the graves of our loved ones.
“I would say shame on those responsible, they need to catch themselves on and get a life.”