Galliagh Concerned Residents Group

On this page you will find a selection of documents, press cuttings and photos relating to the ongoing campaign. This will be updated regularly. There is a lot of material and this is just the tip of the iceberg, most documents. Images have comments by residents either above or below them.

One of the major issues residents have is that there is no meaningful consultation. A shining example of this is that residents at Elaghmore were unaware that Derry City Council and the Galliagh Development Trust were looking for more land at Heather Road. They never told residents of their further plans or consulted with residents about these plans. The documents below speak volumes about how residents have been treated.


In the 5 pages below are the minutes of Derry City Council's planning committee from Sept 2009. This meeting was addressed by Galliagh residents. It may be worth noting that when you read them that at no time does anyone either an elected member of council or a council officer say that this has nothing to do with Derry City Council but is a project of the Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership. At this point residents were convinced that the Galliagh Development Trust  was the main organisation involved.

Whats really interesting  in the following minutes from the council planning committee is that this is now according to the City Solicitor Mr McMahon, NOT A DERRY CITY COUNCIL PROJECT. Oh and residents never got that meeting of all interested parties!

In this letter below from Valerie Watts Derry City Council Town Clerk & Chief Executive she states that this is not a Derry City Council Project. She goes as far to say in point 13 that she must reiterate that DERRY CITY COUNCIL is NOT the promoter!  Ok but, look at the next document a letter from Paul McNaught of the DSD. The DSD gave Derry City Council 250 thousand pounds for this project and state that DERRY CITY COUNCIL IS THE PROJECT PROMOTER!, now if I give someone 250 grand I'm gonna make sure that they are the project promoter. So if Derry City Council are not the promoter then  why did the DSD give DCC the money? 

In this document below you can see that the DSD, the Majority Funder of the project explicitly state that DERRY CITY COUNCIL IS THE PROJECT PROMOTER!  And that a further consultation exercise is being carried out at the behest of Derry City Council.

 But lets remember that according to Derry City Council the working group was formed by the ONNP and the subsequent consultation also had nothing to do with Derry City Council. Now bear that in mind and jump to the next document, the survey sheet used by the ONNP.

This document below is the survey that the ONNP had carried out. Now for a survey that had nothing to do with Derry City Council, whats that logo on the top left corner? it's Derry City Council's logo. Confused yet? Think how residents feel!

If you've not had a chance to listen to the Sarah Brett radio show on the front page, give it a listen. Derry City Council refused to have someone come on the show. In the statement Derry City Council issued, and read out on the show they say 'A Derry City Council spokesperson explained the proposed development of play provision in Galliagh is a key objective of the ONNP action plan as part of the neighbourhood renewal process. Derry City Council supports the need to develop high quality play provision and has worked with the ONNP in enabling the development of a new play facility within Galliagh.

Residents would like to point out that they want high quality play facilities for their children, the would just like a meaningful input into the development of these facilities.

Derry City Council seem keen to distance themselves from this project but from the funding application submitted to the DSD was by Derry City Council you can see that the project manager is a Derry City Council employee, and if you look at the second page down it again states that the same Derry City Council employee will manage the project.

And this final page of the funding application is signed by 2 senior Derry City Council officers.  This declaration below confirming everything is above board is a bit strange after all if this is not a Derry City Council project, and contrary to what the DSD state that Derry City Council is the project promoter then why are the council looking for 250 THOUSAND POUNDS for something that has little to do with Derry City Council beyond 'TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE'.

When residents found out that meetings were taking place behind closed doors they contacted Cllr Sean Carr, Chair of the council planning committee. Residents wanted to know  what was going on,Cllr Carr said he had no idea the meetings were taking place, this was despite a senior council officer and 2 of his party & council colleagues being involved in the 'secret' meetings the current Mayor of Derry Colm Eastwood and MLA Mary Bradley. Residents contacted all members of this working group and asked them to explain why they had excluded residents. Lets say replies were less than forthcoming. I wonder why?

Cllr Sean Carr

Chairman Planning Committee

Derry City Council

98 Strand Road


BT48 7NN

20th October 2009

Dear Councillor Carr,

On the 1st of September a deputation from the Galliagh Concerned Residents Group addressed a planning meeting of Derry City Council that you chaired. The deputation spoke in relation to a proposed development in the Heather Road area of Galliagh. The development has two distinct elements, a play park and a floodlit muga. The play park has never been an issue, but the muga has been a consistent bone of contention.

An organisation called the Galliagh Development Trust are seemingly behind the proposed development, with Derry City Council acting as a sponsor and the applicant. As a result Derry City Council had to defer a planning application from Derry City Council.

As a result of the issues raised by the residents at the meeting Council resolved :

that planning application no. A/2009/0405/F be deferred and in the meantime a meeting be arranged by Council of all the interested parties to discuss the proposals.

To date this meeting has not taken place. However a ‘working group’ was set up to look at the issue. This working group consisted of members of the Galliagh Development Trust, The Outer North Partnership Board, and certain city Councillors, who I must add are either members of the Outer North or Galliagh Development Trust boards. Not one person from the community who has a legitimate concern relating to this development was invited to participate at any of these meetings. These meetings took place behind closed doors and without the prior knowledge of local residents. It cannot be stated enough that every person involved with this working group has a vested interest in this development proceeding unimpeded.

We feel that this flies in the face of what was resolved at the planning meeting. Is it the case that the people who live in the area and who brought this matter to Derry City Council are not considered interested parties? We strongly feel that a subsequent consultation agreed by this 'working group' is flawed, unfairly weighted and realistically not worth the paper it is printed on as regards impartiality.

In an era of supposed transparency in Government, we would question how democratic this process has been and we would question the accountability of those involved to our community. We would ask why no one was there to represent the views of the people who will have this proposed development on their doorstep? Is it the case that a community regarded as being marginalized and socially excluded has been once again marginalized and excluded from the decision making process on an issue that directly affects them.

We would still like to state that not one of the concerns that has been raised by the local community have been addressed. We feel that as a community our views are being ridden roughshod over. It is a sad reflection that we have been badly let down by those who claim to act for the good of the community. Within that we include those who hold a mandate from the community and those self appointed community groups who hold their own interest above that of the community they claim to represent.

We would appeal to you to help put a stop to this farce and help a community have its voice heard and it’s opinions recognised. We are not looking for anything unreasonable but feel strongly that this muga must be taken off the agenda permanently and that Derry City Council must step up to the plate on this matter.

Kindest Regards

Galliagh Concerned Residents Group




BT48 8HA

Tel:02871 XXXXXX


After Derry City Council agreed that proper consultation did not take place the ONNP set up a working group and established a new consultation. They excluded residents, actually they told residents three times in the one meeting that residents had been excluded because of their objections to elements of the proposals. The ONNP have tried to claim that residents were not excluded. Two meetings of this working group had taken place before residents found out that these meetings were taking place, as residents were not included they were excluded.

Interestingly the Outer North did not keep any records of the meetings of the working group it convened breaching section 8.6 of its general conditions. They ONNP have tried to say that they didn't convene the working group,the council are saying that the ONNP did convene the working group. So it seems they expect people to believe that this 'working group' magically formed itself, set up a consultation and presented a report to Derry City Council, who happily accepted the report unquestioningly. Actually whats even more intriguing is that the ONNP say they did not need to keep minutes because it was a working group and not a sub committee.  Also emails that related to the working group were 'routinely deleted, that would seem to violate section 8.8.


In the minutes you can see below from Sept 2009 residents asked to meet the ONNP to raise their concerns, guess what the ONNP declined to meet residents, the residents who the ONNP CLAIM TO REPRESENT!

A section from the Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership Memorandum document.  (How they should conduct themselves)

You can see from the page below from the ONNP Sept 2009 minutes  that residents had requested to meet the ONNP. Isn't it great that they agree that residents had the right to air their grivenaces, but thay haven't the time to allow them to do so. If the process had been transparent and inclusive of residents from day one then this would never have happened!.

So when residents had the audacity to actually ask the ONNP for information & clarification on issues concerning them, here's what the ONNP had to say about it in their minutes.

Read it and the bottom we'll tell you residents interpretation. 

So residents thoughts on what you just read:

Residents had been requesting information from the Outer North Neighbourhood Partnership in relation to their working group and getting nowhere. They wanted any responses in writing so that they wouldn't have to face the 'But I didn't say that' excuse. Residents were unhappy with how Derry City Council handled matters and how the ONNP had 'purposefully excluded' residents from a process about developments that affected them directly. You may notice at the end of the 1st paragraph that the strategy manager of the ONNP Darren Kirby states that residents are clearly unhappy with DERRY CITY COUNCILS decision to proceed with the play park at Heather Road.

Residents are actually concerned about the processes employed by both groups, however residents have been calling for PLAY PARKS and facilities across the entire Galliagh area and not just one corner of it. Residents wanted the contentious muga facility removed from the location at Heather Road and another area of Galliagh given the opportunity to have a play facility.

Mr Kirby also states that residents have not been satisfied by responses to date and have DEMANDED information under the foi act. Actually residents REQUESTED information under the foi act. WE DID NOT DEMAND information or THREATEN to make a formal complaint to the information commissioner. After submitting our request residents waited over the 20 working days as stipulated in the foi guidelines. When not even as much as an acknowledgment was received from the ONNP we informed them of our intention to raise the matter with the information commissioner as per the foi guidelines. Only then did the ONNP respond and state that they were not covered by the FOI act.

However  what the ONNP  did not tell residents is that residents are entitled to information under the general terms and conditions that the ONNP must adhere to. This document called the memorandum of understanding can be downloaded from the DSD website. (

And as for the statement that residents had consistently refused to meet with the ONNP, this is at best laughable, the ONNP refused to meet residents when asked in Sept 2009 this is evidenced on the ONNP minutes on this page. The ONNP also excluded residents from having an input into development on their doorstep. So why would residents want to engage with a less than credible organisation such as the ONNP after the way they treated residents.

Indeed at one point a resident called to the ONNP office to deliver a letter and asked Mr Kirby why the city council logo was on the survey? Could this not be misconstrued as a Derry City Council survey? Mr Kirby stated that no one including a senior council officer had objected to the use of the logo. When asked about this later Mr Kirby said that he had proffered a personal opinion to the resident. Oddly enough when the resident in question heard this he said that Mr Kirby had not stated it was his personal opinion and as the resident had spoken to Mr Kirby in his professional capacity that he could not understand why Mr Kirby now claimed this was a personal opinion.

In relation to residents wanting the fence taken down residents were concerned that the land had not been fully transferred and requested the fence be removed as young children were climbing on it. This was to ensure that the proper indemnity insurances had been obtained before building works began.

E McL – Now that's local councillor Elisha McLaughlin, member of Derry City Council, employee of the Galliagh Development Trust (should she not have declared an interest?). Now Cllr McLaughlin states that the ONNP board has nothing to hide and that this group had received all available information they had requested. Now if that was the case why would residents have had to subpoena information under the foi act. It must also be noted that the residents were only able to obtain these minutes after informing the ONNP that they were required to under their own guidelines.

BF thats Betty Feeny formerly of the resource centre, Betty doesn't even live in Derry never-mind Galliagh. Now Betty was part of the working group that excluded residents. residents wrote to every member of the working group asking why they excluded residents. One of the few respondents Betty  phoned a resident up, gave off down the phone and then hung up! Betty also says in the minutes that the working group accommodated a group of local people. Bettys interpretation and residents interpretation of accommodation would differ greatly. Betty also says that this group agreed they wanted a park and its being built, actually residents had no say into the design or location of the park since the plans had been drawn up and submitted before consultation had been carried out.

Then we have the statement in the minutes from a member of the ONNP suggesting that the ONNP should simply stop responding to the correspondence from residents. This group claims to work for the residents of the Galliagh area but is going to stop communicating with them!

ONNP member Cathal Crumley, who is also the  Project Manager of the Galliagh Development Trust (should he not have declared an interest too?) states that it wouldn't do any harm to create the legal framework to end the correspondence. Now considering  the fact that all the members of the ONNP board not only signed up to the Nolan principles on public life, but under the general terms and conditions have to be accountable to their neighbourhood.  Just who are the ONNP accountable to? How are they accountable to the people they claim to represent?

By the way in case you didn't know the Nolan principles for public life enshrine the qualities of:

Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity , Accountability, Openness, Honesty,Leadership

From what you've read, how do you think the ONNP measure up?

What do think of residents interpretation of the minutes?


The objections registered with th eplanning authority were in response to the lack of consultation. And related to the floodlit facility planned for land adjacent to peoples homes. 

In the article below despite the council being addressed by the legal agent for the residents Mr John Thompson, the City Solicitor Damien McMahon declared that he was 'THE ONLY LAWYER HERE'. Needless to say Mr. McMahon is well aware of Mr Thompson's legal credentials, even City Councillor's at the meeting were laughing at this incredible outburst. So laughable was this comment that in a newspaper column by Eamonn McCann this was awarded the most insecure comment of the year award. Residents would like to extend their congratulations to Mr McMahon on winning this prestigious award.

Isn't it amazing that in August 2009 Cathal Crumley of the GDT was (the article below) still referring to the the 2005 Peter Quin report into the need for a neighbourhood centre, the DSD who commissioned the report from Quinn Consultancy refused to sign off on the report. The reasons given  'The Economic appraisal was not signed off by the Department as we had concerns over some issues including the absence of a complete funding package, land ownership, resident support, planning approvals and long term sustainability.' I wonder why Cathal never mentioned all those things to residents?

Another interesting fact is that this centre was supposed to be built on the Heather Road in Galliagh and they decided not to build it there. Residents in Bloomfield only found out about the plans Cathal & co had for the green land at Bloomfield when he was seen on the land in question in July 2009 with people from the DSD. Despite the GDT requesting the land in 2008  from the Housing Executive it was 2009 before residents  found out something was happening on the green at Bloomfield. Nice of the GDT to ask the residents first, this seems to be a common trait with the GDT.

Residents addressed Derry City Council, as you can see from the posters residents wanted full transparent consultation. The council agreed that proper consultation hadnt taken place and that they would arrange a meeting of all interested parties. Residents are still waiting on that meeting! When residents questioned why this meeting of interested parties never took place, the town clerk Valerie Watts in a letter wrote back and said 'whatever that meant precisely'. So is it the case that a council employee can over rule or dismiss a resolution made by council. Is this a case of the tail wagging the dog? 

Even as you can see below the Housing Executive used to agree how much Galliagh Residents cherish their green spaces.

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