‘Reckless’ gangs must not hold community to ransom

The car was torched on wasteground off the busy Branch Road on Thursday morning.
The car was torched on wasteground off the busy Branch Road on Thursday morning.

Councillors have called for renewed efforts to help tackle an escalation in anti-social activity across the Galliagh and Ballymagroarty areas over the recent days.

In Galliagh, over recent days, there has been a string of incidents, including vehicles being attack, traffic cones being torched on a main road and local homes being pelted with stones and eggs.

Councillors for the Galliagh area said that a small group of young people were behind the incidents.

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy said: “We have seen local homes being damaged in stoning attacks; cars and Translink buses being attacked. I have also learned that a Fire Engine was attacked on a call out.

“Road signs have been burned and attempts to block the road with burning traffic cones. Residents should not have to live with this carry on right on their doorsteps.

“Strenuous efforts have been made by elected representatives, residents, community groups and the police over recent times and it’s clear that this has not been successful in finding all the answers. There is a mountain of good work going on in this area night and day, it cannot be held to ransom or allow a small group to undermine all that.”

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney, meanwhile, appealed to parents to help resolve the issue by talking about their children about the effects of anti-social behaviour on vulnerable residents.

He said local people were “becoming increasingly frustrated” over the problems and vowed to raise the matter with the local Community Safety Team.

Colr. Tierney said yesterday: “A number of young people started a fire on the Moss Road which reduced the road to single file traffic. Incidents have been increasing in the Fergleen area over recent days where homes have been targeted with eggs and I have also received a report of a window being broken in the area.

“People are becoming increasingly frustrated with what’s going on and I would appeal to parents to have a conversation with their children; find out where they are, who they are with and what they are up to and explain how anti social behaviour can affect people and make them feel.

“The majority of young people from Galliagh are good young people who I believe are not involved but we have some who are intent on causing as much upset as they can to their neighbourhood and this type of behaviour has to stop.”

In the latest incident of car crime in the Ballymagroarty area yesterday morning meanwhile, a car was driven through fencing onto waste ground off Branch Road and set alight.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley said: “This type of reckless criminality is completely unacceptable and threatens the lives of those involved as well as passersby who may have been in the vicinity of the incident.

“Those involved are a danger to our community and should be held to account for their actions.”