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Wednesday 11 December 2019

Youths damaged social housing building site after hotwiring digger

The portacabin damaged by the youths with the excavator machine
The portacabin damaged by the youths with the excavator machine
Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

A building site that is due to host social housing for the homeless was damaged by a gang of youths who hotwired a digger.

The youths jumped the security hoarding at the site and started a parked excavator machine with a screwdriver and damaged the site. The Peter McVerry Trust is building eight apartments on the site at New Street Gardens, Dublin 8.

The youths used the bucket of the digger to damage a portacabin, before breaking down the hoarding at the site entrance.

Construction managers were called and arrived within minutes, reclaiming the machine and alerting the gardaí. The youths fled before gardaí arrived and no arrests were made.

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The head of Communications for the Peter McVerry Trust, Francis Doherty, said that the damage caused was minimal, given that construction had not yet commenced. The vandalism, he said, was not in protest at the social housing. He added that the site had a history of antisocial behavior.

The bank where the excavator was parked before the youths drove it down and damaged the portacabin

"Because it's only getting set up, the site security wasn't fully established yet," he said.

"From Monday there will be more hoarding and a site compound going up, so it will all be resolved and there won't be any issues with it.

"The site has a long history of antisocial behavior. For previous years it has been used to stockpile materials for bonfires and stuff in the local areas. These derelict sites attract antisocial behavior for communities, so using them to provide social housing actually eliminates all of these incidents in the future."

One local resident said that the community welcomes the occupants of the social housing "with open arms".

"I live around here. We found out that Peter McVerry was building houses and at first people were surprised, but you couldn't give out about the homeless. All they want to do is live. In 2019 there shouldn't be people out on the street," she said.

"What happened last night with the digger - within minutes the guys building it were out and it was all fine.

"In 2019 there shouldn't be homeless people in Ireland. We welcome anyone here who needs a house with open arms. The Government are the ones that should be ashamed of themselves," she added.

Gardaí confirmed that they attended the scene and that they are investigating the incident.

"Gardaí attended an incident of criminal damage at New Street Gardens, Dublin 8 on 21 of November 2019 at approximately 8.30pm," a spokesperson told

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