Belfast Telegraph

Vandals who targeted advice centre 'want to destroy community'

By Donna Deeney

Nothing can justify the latest in a series of attacks on an advice centre that provides ordinary people with help and support, politicians in Londonderry have said.

Dove House in the Bogside was damaged after paint and petrol bombs were hurled at it less than 24 hours after a controversial bonfire was lit nearby in the middle of a main road.

It was just the latest in several attacks on the advice centre which have previously been blamed on dissident republican supporters. Sinn Fein said that a small group was trying to destroy the wider community.

The centre was set up 30 years ago and has provided support and advice to people in Derry on welfare and housing issues.

Tensions within the Bogside area rocketed this week after a group of youths lit a massive bonfire in the middle of the Lecky Road against the wishes of the local community.

People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann called for the attacks on Dove House to stop.

He said: "There can be no justification, political or otherwise, for paint-bombing and fire-bombing a community centre which has done some very positive and necessary work for local people in relation to welfare rights, children's facilities and so much else.

"No recent controversy can remotely be regarded as justification for apparent attempts to actually destroy the centre.

"People who work in or use Dove House have been made to feel anxious about the future of the facility.

"There is no room for debate in relation to hurling missiles at Dove House. It's wrong, wrong, wrong, and should stop."

Sinn Fein councillor Patricia Logue, who is also a resident of the area, described the incident "dastardly" and called for the attacks on Dove House to end.

She said: "It's sad that we are once again having to condemn yet another attack on Dove House, just two weeks after the last incident.

"Dove House provides help to thousands of people each year and provides countless community events.

"It's the heartbeat of this community, but a very small group of people are intent on destroying it.

"I find it remarkable how these attacks are being treated by many as just the norm - they shouldn't be."

Belfast Telegraph

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