Eamonn McCann - Dog dirt and the Galliagh play park

Throwing political dirt is one thing, but dog dirt is something else entirely.

It was suggested by Councillor Shaun Gallagher on the Mark Patterson show on Radio Foyle on March 10th that somebody had been “firing dog dirt over the wire into a children’s park [in Galliagh]”.

Cllr. Gallagher went on: “Parents have been saying to me [that] at the weekends especially it was getting particularly bad...The individual or the individuals involved in it has now started firing dog dirt over the wire into a children’s park and we all know that if you put a child in contact with dog dirt then there is a serious risk of that child being blinded.”

Who would do such a thing, and why?

Cllr. Gallagher suggested a motivation: “There was a very emotive debate in the Galliagh area over the park and people’s emotions were running high...Anybody in the Galliagh area who knows the individuals or individual involved - they have a moral duty to come forward because, as you say, for the sick mind to put...children’s eyesight and health at risk over a principle or an issue over a children’s play park...”

The suggestion that whoever had been throwing filth over the fence was making a point about the issue of a play park makes no sense. There was, indeed, a very emotive debate in Galliagh last year over a proposed play park for children and a Multi-Use Games Area (Muga) to be used by all ages. The Galliagh Residents’ Group (GRG) objected to the Muga - but not to the children’s play park. It is the play park which somebody is now, apparently, befouling at night. The process of logic which led the councillor to blame objectors to the Muga is far from clear.

The residents won the Muga dispute. Why would they be protesting still? And even if, unaccountably, they had been persisting with protest, what logic could there be to hurling animal excrement over a fence in the dead of night onto a facility to which they hadn’t objected in the first place?

If there is sense to be made of Councillor Gallagher’s allegation, he should spell it out.

A word of apology wouldn’t go amiss either.

Read more from Eamonn McCann in the Journal every Tuesday