Thursday 22 February 2018

'It's a disgrace' - anger after city playground torched causing thousands of euro worth of damage

Firefighters tackle the blaze which destroyed a play area in Coultry Park, one of a spate of incidents
Firefighters tackle the blaze which destroyed a play area in Coultry Park, one of a spate of incidents

Ryan Nugent

Local representatives have hit out at vandals who destroyed a children's playground in an appalling arson attack on Dublin's northside.

The playground, in Coultry Park, Ballymun, was set alight shortly before 8pm on Thursday night, causing thousands of euro worth of damage.

The blaze at the playground
The blaze at the playground

Fine Gael TD for the area Noel Rock labelled the latest incident "a disgrace".

"It's a disgrace and a real setback for the community," he said.

Waste

"The antisocial behaviour in the park had been highlighted at a meeting with gardai as recently as last week, so this latest incident is unsurprising to me and many in the community.

"It's a real waste of money and those behind it need to be held responsible," he added.

Fianna Fail councillor Paul McAuliffe told the Herald that some of the equipment in the playground was already in need of replacement.

However, this was turned down by the council last week, due to the ongoing vandalism and arson attacks.

Mr McAuliffe said that this was not the way to address the issue.

"It's the council admitting defeat. I object to that. The job is to try to protect it," he said.

"Ballymun has the most CCTV in the country. Why is it not being used to monitor playgrounds more?

"A garda presence is also needed in the park."

Dublin Fire Brigade has also hit out at those responsible for the incident and said that the latest blaze is part of a spate of fires to take place in the playground.

"We've extinguished a fire in a playground at Coultry Park. We've attended several fires in the playground which are causing significant damage," the fire service said.

It is not the only playground to be targeted in the area.

Last year, the play area in Griffith Park was also destroyed, causing damage worth up to €20,000.

The exact cost of repairing the damage in this latest incident is unclear at the moment.

Security

Local Sinn Fein councillor Noeleen Reilly hit out at the Griffith Park incident at the time and called for more monitoring of the areas.

"There is not enough security in the parks," she said.

"If someone wants to get into the park they will, but there is no one there to move them on.

"There have been a number of different attacks on playgrounds in parks all over Dublin North-West in recent times.

"This [cost of repairs] is such a waste of taxpayers' money."

Herald

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