26 April 2007 Edition
End Waterside sectarian attacks
Councillor Fleming said : “Last night’s attack was completely reprehensible, I condemn these attacks unreservedly from whatever side they come from. Those involved in these anti-community and sectarian attacks are unrepresentative of the Waterside community and in some instances do not even come from the immediate area. Attacks like this leave residents at interfaces, right across the city, constantly living in fear of retaliation”
Sectarian attacks in the past have resulted in death or serious injury and those responsible need to realise the possible consequences of their actions. At a time when communities are striving to cement peace and encourage reconciliation it would appear that there is a small minority intent on living in the past. They can have no place in our society and those involved should hang their heads in shame.
“These type of attacks seem to be on the increase and as we approach the summer it is all the more important that political and community representatives get together and show leadership by stressing the unacceptability of these sectarian hate crimes.”
Fleming concluded by saying: “There has been much good work done right across the city in trying to decrease sectarian tensions, and trying to promote Derry as a safe environment for all. Sectarian attacks are wrong, and should not be tolerated. I would appeal to those who would carry out such attacks to stop before someone is seriously injured or killed”.
Meanwhile Sinn Féin Councillor Peter Anderson has said that the PSNI need to be more proactive if attacks emanating from the Fountain Estate are to be stopped.
Councillor Anderson said, “The latest attack on a family returning home through Bishops Gate highlights the fact that these attacks have not stopped. I am concerned that the reaction of the PSNI to these attacks was not a serious attempt to apprehend the culprits concerned. Rather than investigate the case the perpetrators were ushered back into the Fountain Estate by the PSNI without even the cursory name and address taken. Over the past few months the attackers from the Fountain Estate were not pursued although in some cases the victim could clearly identify their attacker. “Community activists have worked hard to alleviate the problems concerned with this area and I believe that the small number of people on both sides who are intent in raising tensions by attacking passers by or homes could be easily identified and brought to justice helping to resolve the problem. “I am also concerned that the good work of the community activists is being undone by decisions taken by the PSNI to allow the gate to remain unlocked after 9 o’clock at night.
Community activist on both sides had agreed this course of action and it should not be up to the PSNI on their own to reverse that decision. I would like to see the day when all the fencing and gates can be removed completely but until that happens the PSNI must liaise with the local community before any changes are made.”