Safety wardens withdrawn as frustration mounts over attacks

Galliagh.
Galliagh.

Safety wardens have been withdrawn from the Galliagh area after they came under attack in one of the latest episodes on anti-social behaviour in Galliagh.

Derry City & Strabane District Council confirmed the temporary move yesterday after stating that wardens, police and fire officers were all subjected to attacks in the area on Sunday.

Over recent days, joyriders have again been operating and have even posted a fresh video of a van stolen over the border and driven recklessly through the Galliagh Estate on YouTube.

There has also been a string of incidents involving stones being thrown at moving vehicles, homes being pelted with mud and people’s wheelie bins being set alight

A council spokesperson said ratepayers will now have to fit the bill for repairing the Community Safety Wardens’ damaged vehicle, adding that while no-one was injured, “wardens have been withdrawn from the area until it is deemed safe for them to return to their regular duties.

“We would call on the public to support the Community Safety Wardens in their positive work in protecting our residents and promoting good relations. Anyone with any information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the PSNI directly. Both PSNI and Fire Service were also attacked in the area last night.”

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney, meanwhile, said residents were becoming “increasingly frustrated.”

He said: “On Sunday night stones were thrown at passing cars in the Fergleen Park area; a number of bins were set on fire in the Fern Park area; the community safety wardens had to withdraw from the area after their van was attacked by stones in Galliagh Park and I have a report of a bike being stolen in the Moss Park area. So these reports are coming in from right across the estate.

“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.”

Colr. Tierney stressed that the majority of young people from Galliagh were good, “but we have some who are intent on causing as much upset as they can.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy, meanwhile, said residents were “rightly outraged” after an attack on the wardens.

“The workers were shaken up by this attack,” she said. “The wardens are out late at night dealing with all sorts of incidents across our city and are a lifeline for many people in their hour of need.

“I would appeal for these attacks on vital services to stop and if anyone has information on those responsible to contact the police.”

Independent Councillor Warren Robinson said that some of the incidents in the area adjoining Galliagh Park and Fergleen were leaving residents feeling “trapped in their homes.” In a social media post, he stated: “Older vulnerable people within our area should not be subjected to this. I would appeal to parents to please check on their children and to make sure that they are not taking part in this behaviour.”