Appeal for end to pedestrian bridge vandalism

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A STRABANE councillor has pleaded with vandals who are targeting Strabane's Pedestrian Bridge to leave it alone.

The iconic structure has been targeted several times in recent months since opening to the public prior to Christmas just over a year ago.

Graffiti has been sprayed on the underpass of the bridge's base on the Ballycolman side with various tags on a number of occasions and shrubbery has also been damaged in the past.

The scrawls have been cleaned-off regularly and re-painted at a cost of hundreds of pounds each time but the graffiti keeps returning.

This week, several pieces of graffiti were again evident on the underpass including the phrase: "Snitches get shot".

Elsewhere, HRY (Head of the Town Republican Youth) had been spray-painted onto the bridge's floor on the Townsend Street side.

In the past, residents living nearby have also complained about young people using the underpass as a 'drinking den' whilst others have criticised pet owners for not cleaning up dog fouling on the floor covering of the bridge.

Independent Strabane councillor, Patsy Kelly, has appealed for those responsible for the continuing vandalism to stop.

"We've had this issue before. It's a shame that the bridge has been targeted again and that it just can't be left alone," he said. "These people who are responsible for the vandalism need to catch themselves on.

"I'd appeal to them to stop. It's not acceptable and if anyone has any information or knows who is doing it then they should report it to the PSNI.

"It's a good bridge that is widely used and it is one that many people in the town have waited years to see come to fruition.

"Strabane Pedestrian Bridge is an iconic bridge and only recently it was up for a top award. It cost millions of pounds to develop and it should be left alone.

"Council installed two cameras on either end but questions have to be asked; are the two sufficient if this is continuing and are they in operation? Perhaps we need to be looking at putting a camera close to the underpass to ensure that it can't be vandalised."

Derry City and Strabane District Council has previously urged the public to refrain from defacing public property and has warned that offences such as graffiti and fly-posting can result in fixed penalty notices of up to 80.


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