A TOWN Council has expressed horror after sick thugs smeared human excrement over popular children's playground amenities.
The vandalism came to light when a concerned father ran to find out why his child was crying in distress on the slide in Fermoy Park in north Cork.
Pat Hanlon from Clondulane admitted he couldn't believe his eyes when he discovered his three-year-old daughter was sitting on top of the slide, weeping in distress because she was covered in human excrement.
Pat, whose seven-month-old son was also in the park, became covered in faeces himself as he frantically took his little girl off the slide.
The distressed family were helped by staff from the nearby Fermoy Leisure Centre who allowed them to use toilet facilities to clean themselves. Fermoy Town Council is now investigating the incident.
Pat said: "It was absolutely revolting. How could anyone do something like that knowing that young children use the slide? I was born and reared here. I just don't know what this town in coming to."
It is suspected the vandalism occurred late last Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
Fermoy Town Clerk Pauline Moriarty said everyone was shocked by the incident.
She added: "(We were) horrified. But Mr Hanlon complimented swimming pool staff who helped them get cleaned up and the staff who went straight over to power-hose the area."
The council said its priority was to deal with an obvious public health hazard.
Fermoy's Mayor Cllr Olive Corcoran said it was appalling that a popular children's amenity should be deliberately targeted in such a way.
She added: "We know this is the action of a tiny minority who are determined to ruin it for everyone."
Cllr Corcoran, supported by Cllrs Noel Barnes and Noel McCarthy, said the council now needs to examine the cost of installing CCTV security cameras around the town's famous park which overlooks the River Blackwater and its landmark stone bridge.
The popular park playground was refurbished a decade ago and is earmarked for another major upgrade in 2014.
Cllr McCarthy added: "This park has been a wonderful asset for Fermoy over the years and I think it is disgusting, inexcusable and reprehensible for anyone to behave in such a manner."