Belfast Telegraph

Sectarian 'Fenians Out' graffiti daubed on wall outside Londonderry care home

By Jill Goligher

Sinn Fein has condemned sectarian graffiti daubed outside a care home in Londonderry and said that those responsible will not create "no go" areas of the city.

The graffiti appeared on a wall opposite the entrance to Foyle Arena sports centre in the Waterside, next to St Columb's Park on Monday.

Derry City and Strabane District Council have since removed the 'Fenians Out' message which was painted in large letters on the wall.

Sinn Fein Councillor Christopher Jackson, believes the graffiti was designed to intimidate users of the council-run sports complex and nearby St Columb's Park. He was made aware of the graffiti by people arriving at the Foyle Arena early Monday morning.

He said: "It is disappointing to see this but it is not surprising.

"The message we need to get out is that all council facilities are open to everybody and there is no place for sectarianism anywhere.

"We must ensure people feel safe and comfortable using Foyle Arena and St Columbs Park, and that there are no 'no go' areas in the city, despite what some people might want to create."

Councillor Jackson added: “There is brilliant work ongoing and people very committed to addressing the problems, and yet there is a small minority carrying out actions such as this, trying to undo that good work.”

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council confirmed that sectarian graffiti had been removed from a section of wall along the Limavady Road.

They said: "Council continues to work closely with local community groups and the PSNI to ensure the area in and around St Columb’s Park remains a safe and welcoming shared space for all users. Any anti-social or sectarian activities will be reported to the PSNI and dealt with accordingly."

A PSNI spokesman meanwhile confirmed: “Police received a report of sectarian graffiti on a wall at Limavady Road on Monday August 7.

“The graffiti was painted sometime overnight between Sunday 6 and Monday 7 August."

"The incident is being treated as a hate crime.

The DUP also condemned the sectarian graffiti on the Limavady road.

They said:"We contacted the council and the city centre manager to have this removed as soon as we were made aware of it. We have been speaking to young people in the area who are out late at the bonfire sites and although there is anger in the Waterside after many attempts to create tensions, they want no part of this counter-productive retaliation.

"We said over the last few weeks there is a sinister group or groups involved in raising tensions and we are assured there are not any young people involved in what is a week of celebration of Londonderry and it's cultural history."

They added: "It has also been made clear that the residents of the Waterside just want to live in peace. The week of festivals are going well and we all look forward to the Relief of Derry celebrations on Saturday."

“Officers would ask anyone with any information to contact them at Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 371 07/08/17 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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