Northern Ireland

Galliagh: Police step up patrols after trouble in Leafair

Two police cars were badly damaged when youths threw bricks at officers in the area on Wednesday night
Image caption Two police cars were badly damaged when youths threw bricks at officers in the area on Wednesday night

The police have stepped up patrols in Londonderry after disturbances in Galliagh area of the city this week.

Bricks were thrown at police and a resident was attacked in Leafair during trouble on Wednesday night. There were also reports of shots being fired.

Extra local neighbourhood officers were deployed on Thursday night, and two arrests were made.

A 15-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man was arrested for assault on police and disorderly behaviour.

Parental responsibility

The boy was released pending a report from a youth diversion officer while the man has been charged to appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on 6 May.

Community worker Peter McDonald praised police for increasing patrols but said parents must take more responsibility for their children.

Mr McDonald warned that the Northern Ireland Housing Executive had the power to evict social housing tenants if families failed to keep their children under control.

Image caption Youths threw bricks and bottles in Leafair Gardens in the Galliagh area on Wednesday night, attacking police and property

Stephen Deery, a resident of the Leafair estate, told BBC Radio Foyle that the situation was calmer on Thursday night compared to the night before, but said large groups of youths had still gathered outside his home to drink alcohol.


Mr Deery said his family has not been able to sleep properly for the last week, because of anti-social behaviour in the street.

"We're up every night, me and my son, out trying to move them on and the abuse they give you is just terrible Then they start throwing bottles at the house and they tried to burn my hedges twice," he said.

Mr Deery also said youths had threatened to set fire to his car.

He called for part of the estate to be fenced off, to prevent young people from gathering in the area.

'Totally unacceptable'

Ch Insp Tony Callaghan said additional local neighbourhood officers were on patrol in the city on Thursday night to "reassure residents, deal with anti-social behaviour and criminality and keep people safe".

Image caption Community worker Peter McDonald praised police for increasing their presence in the estate on Thursday night

The officer added: "The behaviour that has occurred over the last few nights is totally unacceptable and residents should not be subjected to this sort of behaviour.

"I would continue to appeal to parents to ensure that they know where their children are, who they are with and most importantly what they are doing."

Mr McDonald told BBC Radio Foyle that the community safety team met on Thursday to discuss problems in the estate.

The team is made of up representatives from the police, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, politicians and community workers.

'Excellent job'

Mr McDonald said that he personally, in the past, had "serious difficulty with policing".

However, he said the PSNI was an "accountable" policing service.

"This is not about heavy-handed policing. This is about a police service delivering a service, no different from Derry City Council, so people need to get that into their mindsets."

The community worker added: "I am prepared, along with many, many others to encourage and build upon policing."

Mr McDonald described the PSNI operation on Thursday night as "a first-class and excellent job".

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