Residents in Crawford Square are to meet tomorrow (Thursday) night to discuss safety concerns following a bomb attack on the Probation Office on the street.
Fionnbarra O Dochartaigh, chairperson of the Crawford Square and District Residents’ Association, said that attack was only the latest in a series of attacks over the years.
Residents are now looking for the Probation Office to be relocated to another site amid fears of further attacks on the terraced row at Crawford Square.
Meanwhile dramatic CCTV footage has been released of the moment the device detonated.
The footage reveals how one man had a lucky escape as he had been walking past the area just seconds before the explosion.
The CCTV footage was recorded at the Methodist Mission’s residential complex at the top of Crawford Square.
Mr O Dochartaigh said that the meeting on Thursday night at the Derry City Football Club Function Room widespread concerns over the safety of local people and the staff who work at the Probation Office.
“Nothing against the staff, and they have been very courteous to us, but they should be in a safer place. The Office has been attacked on numerous occassions.
“There have been broken windows, paint bombs and also petrol bombs thrown at the building.
“I would rather see the Probation Office moved before I see good families, young families having to move out.” Mr O Dochartaigh urged any trade union representation the Probation Office staff might have to ensure that the safety of their members was made a priority.
Cheryl Lamont, (Acting) Director of the Probation Board Northern Ireland (PBNI) today said:
“PBNI work in the heart of all local communities to deliver a public service and have worked in Crawford Square for over 30 years.
“Indeed our staff are part of the local community. We understand the concerns of residents in Crawford Square following this incident on Monday night.
“PBNI staff met many of the local residents this week. We are mindful that police are continuing to work to understand the motives for this attack.
“We will continue to work with the police and local community to ensure our offices are safe for those who use them and live nearby.”
Residents in Crawford Square yesterday spoke of how children living next door to the Probation Board office had been left screaming in their pyjamas in the street after being wakened from the sleep by the bomb blast.
The device detonated shortly before 11pm. A while earlier, a warning had been given to the Samaritans, but the device detonated before police arrived.
A number of residents were evacuated, but Mr O Dochartaigh said that contrary to reports, many remained at the back of their homes throughout the alert.
Speaking shortly after news of the attack, Methodist Mission Director Liam Milligan said: “We wish to condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms.
“Those who carried it out demonstrate a complete disregard for human life and the safety of residents living in the Crawford Square area.
“Families with young children live in the immediate vicinity of the attack and it is extremely fortunate we are not reporting serious injury or loss of life. Our sympathy and support go to the families who had to leave their homes.
“We would like to commend the PSNI and the Fire & Rescue Service for their response to the incident.
“I would also like to commend the efforts of our night staff, our Hostel Manager Sean Boyle and On Call Manager James Jennings for their response and effort in ensuring the safety of our residents”.