Belfast Telegraph

Outrage at fresh rampage by gangs of youths in Creggan

Caoimhin Cassidy
Caoimhin Cassidy
Scuffles broke out as Caoimhin Cassidy was laid to rest on Friday
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

An uneasy calm has been restored in parts of Londonderry where gangs of youths rampaged following the funeral of Caoimhin Cassidy who died last week after he was trapped inside a stolen car that went on fire.

The community in Creggan was subjected to high-level anti-social behaviour sparked by joyriding youths in two cars in front of St Mary's Church where Requiem Mass for Mr Cassidy had taken place.

In the ensuing chaos, a teenage male was discovered by a police patrol lying in grass shrubland and was taken to hospital where he was treated for puncture wounds to his shins, in what is understood to have been a paramilitary attack carried out by dissident republicans.

Three windows at a house in Culdaff Gardens in Creggan were also smashed in the early hours of Saturday morning, which is also understood to be connected to the aftermath of Friday's mayhem.

Some residents said they are sickened by what they had witnessed but were mostly angered by the way in which the area where they live has been portrayed.

One woman who did not want to be identified said: "The family of that young fella had made it clear they didn't want those wee hoods coming here and driving around like lunatics, but those boys are too stupid or too out of their heads on drugs to care about anybody only themselves.

"We have had to put up with so much this past while and I think seeing those boys on the streets on Friday before the children had come out of primary school was the last straw.

"The men went out and chased them and made sure they knew what would happen to them if they came back, so no matter what you think, I am glad they did.

"I have a car that isn't a great car but I bought and paid for it and I don't want any wee thug thinking he can come here and just take it."

Another man who has lived in Creggan for over 30 years said that the anti-social behaviour is "out of control" but something more than condemnation needs to happen.

He said: "I was as sickened as the next person watching what happened in here this weekend.

"There is no doubt there are young people who are out of control, but these are young people who have no education, no job and worst of all no hope. But they are not the true face of Creggan because there are far more young people who are a credit to their families but you don't hear about them."

Derry and Strabane SDLP councillor Jim McKeever has called for the re-introduction of a safe driving scheme for young drivers for young people currently involved in anti-social behaviour.

He said: "A group of youths aged from 12-15 from the Creggan and Rosemount area took part in the project at the Cruise Centre in Eglinton which I set up.

"The project was very successful and I think it would go some way to addressing the serious problem of joyriding and anti-social behaviour in the city."

The PSNI District Commander, Superintendent Gordon McCalmont, said his officers will continue to work with the community to address the situation in Creggan.

He also warned young people about the serious consequences of getting embroiled in anti-social behaviour.

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