Young people are taking their lives into their own hands when they enter a building site in Creggan to gather wooden pallets, according to local Independent Councillor, Gary Donnelly.
The construction area is the former site of St. Peter’s High School but is now being used to build over 120 new social homes.
Someone could be killed or badly injured if they come into this building site. I am appealing to parents to be wary and to know where their children are at all timesGary Donnelly - Independent Derry City and Strabane District Councillor
The ‘Journal’ visited the construction site to meet with with Colr. Donnelly and site foreman, Michael Foreman.
In recent weeks, young people have waited for the builders to leave the site before digging a hole under a sturdy metal fence.
The young people then scour the building site for wooden pallets which the ‘Journal’ understands they are collecting to be used on bonfires.
“I was contacted by the construction team here who are having trouble with young people coming into the site.
“The team has told me that whilst the young people are not causing any great problem, they are entering the building site when they shouldn’t be,” said Colr. Donnelly.
“A building site is full of dangers if you are not wearing suitable safety gear and the last thing anyone wants is for someone to be killed or seriously injured.”
Many of Derry’s schools are in their final week of term and the problem is expected to get worse.
“Someone could be killed or badly injured if they come into this building site. I am appealing to parents to be wary and to know where their children are at all times.
“We are not trying to stop the young people from having fun - we just want to take the necessary steps to make sure that this issue does not end in a disaster,” added Colr. Donnelly. The construction of the next social homes is currently 11 months ahead of schedule and it is expected that the first tenants will move into the area in August.
“If something serious was to happen one of the young people who have been coming into the site then it would more than likely hamper the construction effort.
“The homes currently under construction here will help many people who are currently on the social housing waiting list so we should be doing all that we can to ensure that nothing stops that. I don’t want this to sound like we are trying to demonise the young people because we are not. We are just trying to be proactive about a situation that has the potential to be much, much more serious,” added Colr. Donnelly.