Disturbances in Galliagh area of Derry after bonfire materials removed

Police and fire brigade officers attended the scene following disturbances in the Galliagh area of Derry after the removal of bonfire materials.

By Brendan McDaid
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 8:29 am

Materials were dragged onto Fairview Road and set alight on several occasions on Monday evening, while a Housing Executive vehicle is also understood to have been damaged.

It is understood the unrest occurred after bonfire materials being gathered in the area for the August 15th bonfire were removed earlier on Monday, and the fire brigade in one instance had to withdraw due for ‘crew safety’.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue (NIFRS) said today: “NIFRS were called to attend a number of incidents involving quantities of pallets on fire at Galliagh Derry/ Londonderry last night - Monday 27th June 2022 at 17.16hrs, 17.59hrs, 19.20hrs and 21.03hrs.

Charred debris on Fairview Road this morning following disturbances in Galliagh on Monday.

“Crews from Northland Fire Station attended the first two incidents, but were unable to extinguish the fire as they were approached by a large group of youths.

“A crew from Northland Fire Station with an additional NIFRS officer attended the third incident, but whilst extinguishing the fire had to withdraw for crew safety due to again being approached by a large group of youths.

“NIFRS did not attend the incident at 21.03hrs, as information received indicated there was no risk to property or life – and further information highlighted there was again a large group of youths at the scene, so it would be unsafe to attend for crew safety.”

Speaking last night a PSNI spokesperson said: “Police are currently responding to reports that a number of youths have gathered in the Fairview Road area.

Galliagh.

“A number of pallets had been set alight, partially blocking the road for a time. The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the fire.

“Officers are continuing to monitor the situation.”

One local resident passing by and speaking at the scene this morning said it was disgraceful that the bonfire materials had been removed in a departure from how last year’s was dealt with.

He claimed the actions of those who removed the materials had sparked the incidents last night and queried why materials from a bonfire marking the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady were removed while other bonfires in the city were allowed to go ahead unimpeded.

Local grass roots community organisation Galliagh Community Response meanwhile issued a statement on social media expressing “disgust” that pallets had been removed “sparking a reaction from youths who went on to attack and smash up a Housing Executive lorry then burnt sofas and block the only entrance to Galliagh Park”.

The G.C.R. statement claimed there had been “no attemp at dialouge with the youths” and said that that while the youths must bear the responsibility for their actions and have “gone to far”, that this would not have happened but for the decision to remove the bonfire materials.

“Our members where able to assist Housing Executive staff removing the lorry and other equipment from the area as too not put them in further danger,” the group added.

THe Journal has not been able to verify who ordered the removal of the materials at this stage.

Many local areas in Derry have ended the practice of August 15 bonfires over recent years, replacing them with street parties and festival events, while some areas continue with bonfires.