Under Siege in Gartan Square

Gartan Square in Derry.
Gartan Square in Derry.

Residents in Derry’s Gartan Square say they’ve had enough of young people using solvents, drinking and setting fires next to their homes.

Up to 40 youths regularly congregate in the area up to seven nights a week.

Rubbish that was thrown across the bin shed.

Rubbish that was thrown across the bin shed.

Residents, including elderly people and those with young families, told the ‘Journal’ that the teenagers sit on their verandas drinking and regularly break into a bin shed, empty the bins out, then sit on them and take solvents.

“As soon as it gets dark, these young people appear and we’re under siege,” one resident told the ‘Journal.’

“Our real fear is the bins. Five of them have been set on fire and we are afraid that, with the gas fires there could be a fatality.

“Young people congregate in the bin sheds and get ‘off their face’ on solvents and drink. It’s party central. They’re not from this area. It’s not unusual for us to have to step over vomit to get out of our houses.

“The bin shed has been locked and even welded shut but they keep breaking in. There are young families with babies here and we have to keep our doors locked because we are so afraid. The noise level is unbelievable, we can’t even listen to our televisions.

“When there was a wake on downstairs we went out and asked them to keep the noise down. They threatened to burn us out of our homes. One woman was so afraid she taped her letterbox shut.”

Another homeowner said residents should not have to put up with this.

“Where do their parents think their children are when they are getting off their faces on alcohol? Our wains can’t get to sleep at night because of the roaring and shouting.”

Sinn Fein Colr Colly Kelly said he understood the frustration of residents living in Gartan Square.

He said the complaints of residents had been taken on board and plans are being made to look at ways to restrict access to residents only.

A spokesperson from the Housing Executive said: “We take anti-social behaviour very seriously.

“We are aware of anti-social behaviour at Gartan Square and we have taken steps to combat it.

“We will take robust action against those involved in anti-social behaviour and we remind tenants whose children are found to be responsible for anti-social behaviour on Housing Executive estates, they could face serious sanctions.”