THE COUNCIL has been forced to fit protective grills on the windows of a new state-of-the-art changing room facility in Swords that was hit by vandals in November before two local sports clubs even got a chance to use them.
St. Finian's GAA and River Valley Rangers were looking forward to using new changing rooms at Ridgewood playing fields as the last pieces of the long-awaited development were put in place by the developer before the hand over of the facility to Fingal County Council. Ironically, one of the last jobs to be carried out at the facility was to put security grills on the windows but before that could happen eight of those windows are smashed and the clubs were faced another long delay before finally getting to use these badly needed facilities. The vandalism at the changing rooms followed a pattern of anti-social behaviour at the pitches in Ridgewood since they opened earlier this year. According to St Finian's club secretary, Frank Egan, ten to 15 burnt out wheelie bins have been found and removed from the pitches since they opened. Local youths are stealing wheelie bins in Ridgewood and bringing them to the pitches to set them alight, it is alleged. The facility is protected by a steel gate and vehicle barrier but these measures have proven little use against the determined vandals. Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) asked the council what progress it had made restoring the facility since the vandals attacked. The local authority explained: 'Replacements for the vandalised windows have been ordered and we are awaiting installation. 'Protective grills have been manufactured for the windows and will be installed once the windows have been replaced. Protective grills are also being installed around the gas and electricity meters.' The council said it was hopeful that the facility would be open and ready for use again after the winter break.