LISTOWEL was livid almost to a person over an act of mindless vandalism in which 11 new lights in the town park were destroyed by gurriers on Wednesday night.
It is estimated that the vandals caused over €3,000 worth of damage, destroying lights on one of the most popular walkways in the town - down by the river in the town park.
The lights, which are positioned on top of a metre-high pole, were each kicked off as the vandals destroyed the entire row. "I'm deeply angry over it," Mayor of Listowel Tom Barry said. "This was an act of nothing other than mindless vandalism and the members of the public I met down there on Thurday morning were deeply upset by it."
The lights were installed last March as part of an injection of €50,000 to improve the park as an amenity for walkers, runners and sporting clubs. Wednesday night's wanton destruction came as the town council were preparing to roll out the next phase of lighting - to ensure that a 1.4 km loop of the inner town park walk would be lit.
It is local people using the amenity who will suffer as a result of the incident, town clerk David O'Brien said.
Thankfully, the authority is already repairing the damage caused by the callous thugs.
"This was an act of mindless vandalism of the highest order that will delay the transformation of the town park into a wonderful amenity for its recreational users. We are also in work at present resurfacing the inner loop walk and we will be shortly starting on the outer loop, finishing both loops with tarmac. It's just so unfortunate that due to the actions of a small few so many people's enjoyment of the park has to suffer," Mr O'Brien added.
Cllr Barry appealed to anyone who might have noticed any suspicious activity to contact the gardaí in Listowel who are investigating the matter thoroughly.