independent

Monday 25 March 2019

Vandals use tools on play equipment

Incidents have been reported at both the Little Tern Playground in Kilcoole (pictured) and the playground in Greystones
Incidents have been reported at both the Little Tern Playground in Kilcoole (pictured) and the playground in Greystones

Mary Fogarty

Vandals have used tools to deliberately dismantle equipment at playgrounds in Kilcoole and Greystones.

Greystones District Administrator Michael Nicholson said that people have come armed with tools to cause damage, including the sawing of a see-saw in Greystones.

'I don't understand it,' he said. 'I cannot explain why someone would deliberately damage playground equipment.'

The matter came up as Cllr Gráinne McLoughlin requested at a meeting of Greytones Municipal District that a rubbish bin be returned to the playground in Kilcoole.

Members previously heard that the bin had been removed due to vandalism. District engineer Ruairi O'Hanlon said that he is still not to keen to do so after the bin being trashed a couple of times.

'People are taking the playground apart, they're dismantling it,' he said.

Cllr McLoughlin said that councillors and residents in the area are being proactive. The Kilcoole playground is being secured at night, which is when the damage was being done, she said. Meanwhile, there is no litter bin there.

Mr Nicholson said that half a million had gone into both playgrounds, between fundraising and council money. 'Both playgrounds are being damaged.'

Members all voiced words such as 'scandalous' and 'disgusting'.

'It is an absolute disgrace,' said Cllr Tom Fortune. 'But it is a very small number of people doing this.'

He said that it might be worth reinstating the bin at Kilcoole, as the night-time securing of the gate is effective.

'It is only a handful of people doing this,' said Cllr Fortune. 'Communities have to take control. It's a very small number of people.'

He said that one of the people who locks the Kilcoole playground had handed him a bag containing parts of a slide.

'The fact that someone would go into a playground with the correct sort of wrench and unscrew equipment is difficult to understand,' said Cllr Fortune.

Mr O'Hanlon said that the materials are not being taken away from the playgrounds by the perpetrators. 'So it's mindless vandalism,' said Cllr Nicola Lawless.

Cllr Jennifer Whitmore said that the number of people damaging the facilities is tiny when compared to the large numbers using and enjoying them.

Cllr Nicola Lawless said that one or two are ruining it for everyone else, not to mention the health and safety implications of children using damaged equipment.

Cllr Tom Fortune said that all young people are not to be blamed for this.

'We have to be the eyes on it,' said Cllr Whitmore. 'The gardai can't always be there.'

Michael Nicholson said that there are 30 facilities around the county. 'We don't have those problems as bad elswhere.' Cllr Tom Fortune was emphatically opposed. 'I know for a fact it's not unique to Kilcoole and Greystones,' he said.

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