Members of a northside environmental group have been left “shocked beyond words” after a community sensory garden was vandalised.
The popular amenity, located on Springdale Road in Edenmore, has been maintained by a small group of volunteers since 2019 and is widely used by local families and senior citizens.
Theresa Kelly, chairperson of Edenmore Residents/Environmental Association, told Independent.ie she was “sick to her stomach” when she saw the “wanton destruction” of the garden.
“The pergola has been dismantled bit by bit and it looks like it was taken away for personal use,” she said.
“In addition, a planter was thrown over the fence, our fairy lights were cut and beer cans and other rubbish has been strewn around the place.”
Fencing surrounding the adjoining fairy garden was also dislodged and will need to be replaced, according to Theresa.
“This space means something different to everyone,” she said. “The garden is used by people of all ages, including children with disabilities and sensory issues.
“At the end of each wheelchair bay there are musical instruments that kids and adults love playing with – thankfully, these weren’t damaged.
“The garden was a very important place for elderly people during lockdown. They could come down here early in the morning to exercise or sit on one of the granite seats.”
While there have been minor acts of vandalism in the past, the latest incident is the most serious and has left Theresa and other volunteers feeling disheartened.
“This garden is maintained by a small group of volunteers who give their time selflessly,” she said. “Maybe I’m just feeling angry right now, but I am seriously thinking of closing the garden and handing it back to the council.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see it destroyed after all the time and effort that has gone into it. Volunteers are often down here for up to five hours on a Saturday.
“I’d love to get CCTV installed, but we can’t afford it. We have been very lucky with the support from Dublin City Council and businesses in the area, but this is something we would have to fundraise for.”
Theresa urged anyone with information to contact gardaí in Coolock.
Councillor Tom Brabazon (FF) described the Edenmore sensory garden as “a place of refuge and solace” throughout the pandemic.
“It’s so frustrating when mindless idiots vandalise, destroy and steal from this garden,” he said. “It’s incredible how these people can be so negative about something so positive.
“Volunteers are at the end of their tether and the garden could potentially be closed. I hope this doesn’t happen and call on those responsible to either get involved with the group or just leave the garden alone.”