Crunch meeting to discuss St Columb’s Park drinking a welcome step

St Columb's Park
St Columb's Park

The DUP says the party is pleased at the united front that has been put up in Londonderry this week following disturbances in and around St Columb’s Park at the weekend.

A special inter-agency meeting was convened to focus on finding a resolution to anti-social behaviour and intimidation, particularly during periods of good weather, when youths have been accused of gathering in large numbers in the popular Waterside park.

On Monday Waterside DUP Councillor David Ramsey told the Sentinel he spent part of the Bank Holiday with concerned residents of the Bond’s Street area after what he described as a “sectarian rampage” by drunken youths on Sunday.

Now the Council has confirmed elected members, the PSNI, Council officers and community representatives have met to discuss the anti-social behaviour, alcohol consumption and criminal incidents taking place in the park which have escalated in recent weeks.

The meeting was convened by the City Centre Manager, Jim Roddy, in response to concerns relating to the increased numbers of young people involved and the increasing regularity of the incidents.

A spokesperson for the Council said: “All attendees at the meeting agreed that many of the incidents are alcohol related and supported the call for police to prioritise the area over the coming weeks as a matter of urgency and to allocate the necessary resources to prevent any reoccurrence. Concerns were raised that the ongoing issues in and around the park, especially during the current sunny weather, has impacted negatively on the safety of park users and local residents, has increased the vulnerability of young people, and is using up emergency service resources.

“Those attending agreed to request that the park and the surrounding areas is treated as a high priority by PSNI and its partners and is resourced accordingly. It was also requested that the PSNI check those entering the park for alcohol and seize alcohol from anyone drinking in the park.”

Mr Ramsey told the Sentinel the DUP, which had representation at the meeting, is pleased the matter is being taking seriously.

“We were represented at the meeting and I have to say we are enthusiastic about the united front that has been shown in relation to tackling this problem,” said Mr Ramsey.

“It we don’t stop this now it’s only going to get worse and people shouldn’t have to face being tortured like they were last weekend,” he added.

Community representatives, elected members and council officers vowed to work with the PSNI to ensure the park and the surrounding area remains a safe shared space.