Wednesday 23 January 2019

Vandals smash lights and wreck benches in park

Lamp posts in Gorey Town Park missing their lights which have been smashed by vandals
Lamp posts in Gorey Town Park missing their lights which have been smashed by vandals

Sara Gahan

Smashed lights and damaged benches greeted visitors to Gorey Town Park on Thursday after it was destroyed by senseless vandals.

The latest act of mindless vandalism has understandably caused uproar locally, with councillors joining the Gorey Parkrun group in condemning the 'outrageous' attack.

It is believed more than half of the LED lights, which are quite expensive to replace, were destroyed, along with benches that have since been removed by Wexford County Council.

Gareth Mitchell of Gorey Parkrun - the running group that uses the popular amenity every Saturday morning - said there have been incidents in the past of vandalism, but nothing to this extent.

'It is very disappointing to hear,' said Gareth. 'The breaking of the lights poses a real danger as the shards of glass could hurt children or dogs in the park.'

He added that despite the latest incident, Wexford County Council always maintains the park in excellent condition throughout the year.

'We have about 60 people most Saturday mornings taking part in the 5k run,' said Gareth. 'The Town Park is a great community amenity and a lot of people who take part in the Parkrun would use it a lot.'

Cllr Joe Sullivan said the LED lights have been an ongoing issue in Gorey Town Park.

'I have noticed a couple of times some of them already broken,' said Cllr Sullivan. 'We need to condemn this outrageous behaviour on what is an excellent amenity and soon to be upgraded by Wexford County Council.'

Cllr Sullivan would urge anyone with information to go to the guards to ensure this behaviour is discouraged.

The €1.8 million revamp of Gorey Town Park and Showgrounds is due to begin next year, with the redevelopment to include extensive landscaping and planting, and attractions like a leisure area, splash pool, wetlands area, café, circuit training area, additional seating are and a picnic area. Wexford County Council is currently re-tendering the project.

But, before this state-of-the-art Town Park is developed, Cllr Fionntan Ó Súilleabhain feels the CCTV should be installed immediately rather than waiting for the Town Park and Showgrounds to be completed.

'The gardaí need to clamp down on this and the culprits dealt with,' said Cllr Ó Súilleabhain. 'Hopefully the public can help. A clamp down on ongoing drinking and drug use in the park also needs to be enforced.'

There has been lots of successful big events in the park over the past few years and following the councils substantial investment, Cllr Ó Súilleabhain has no doubt that it will be a state-of-the-art facility in the south east that the Gorey area will be very proud of.

Cllr Malcolm Byrne is urging anyone with information about those responsible should go to the Gardaí in confidence about the 'outrageous vandalism'.

'The matter will be pursued rigorously and those guilty of criminal damage must be held to account,' said Cllr Byrne. 'We have a great facility for everyone's benefit.'

Gorey Guardian