Thursday 19 September 2019

'Very disappointing' - vandals destroy solar light project on popular Cork walkway

"A place I call home, beautiful Crosshaven," says Laurette Kavanagh, who submitted this photo taken by Jemima Inocco.

Ralph Riegel

Vandals have wrecked an ambitious pilot project to use solar powered lights to illuminate a popular Cork amenity walk.

Gardaí are investigating the bizarre incident in which vandals painstakingly used a drill to destroy the photocell of each one of the 88 solar powered public lights erected along the Crosshaven Walkway.

The vandalism required several hours to complete - with the damage believed to have been caused between July 24-28.

"Each individual light was drilled through the centre, damaging the photocell and rendering all 88 lights -installed by the council at a cost of €4,521 - completely useless," a Cork Co Council spokesperson said.

The lights had only been erected less than two weeks earlier on July 15.

All 88 lights were destroyed beyond repair.

Gardaí are now investigating the incident.

Anyone who spotted suspicious activity along the walkway is now asked to contact Carrigaline Gardaí.

The lights had been erected along an 800 metre stretch of the walk between the Kilnagleary car park and Leary's Cross - a popular route with local walkers, families and children.

Cork Co Council had hoped to extend the solar lighting programme to a further 4.5km section of the walkway over coming years.

"The spotlights were carefully chosen as the light from them is diffused horizontally over a specific localised area - delineating the path in evening time while being sensitive to the needs of local wildlife," a council spokesperson explained.

The Mayor of the County of Cork Councillor Christopher O Sullivan said he was appalled by the vandalism.

“Cork County Council strives to provide the very best quality of service to the people of Cork and in a manner that respects the environment and enhances existing amenities," he said.

"The damage done to this pilot scheme of energy efficient public lighting is very disappointing.”

Crosshaven had been boosted last month by hosting the Dutch royal family during their Irish visit.

The village is also home to the world's oldest yacht club and is a popular tourism destination.

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