Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Security concerns over city gates

Bishop's Gate
The Police stopped closing the gates six weeks ago

Derry City Council is to employ a private security firm to open and close security gates around the city walls.

The decision was taken after the police said it was too dangerous for their officers due to an increased dissident republican threat.

The council said the action was taken with the support of the PSNI.

The police stopped closing the gates six weeks ago and City Centre Initiative wardens temporarily took over the operation.

SDLP councillor Helen Quigley said the council has put out a tender to local security firms to control the gates.

"This is a major issue for the council because we have so many tourists and people on walking tours on the walls," she said.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said that they would employ a security firm on a six month contract to "ensure the effective day-to-day management of the gates".

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