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Parents' anger as playground vandals put children at risk

CHILDREN could have been seriously injured after vandals ruined a Dublin playground, and attempted to conceal the damage.

Eagle-eyed parents spotted the damage in a North Dublin playground and reported the vandalism to Fingal County Council.

Playground equipment in Swords Town Park sustained costly damage -- and left the local authority with no other option but to close the facility.

Those responsible cut halfway through two of the supporting uprights of a play unit below the visible level, burned the bottom of another and badly damaged a roundabout with a sledge hammer.

Labour Cllr Tom Kelleher expressed his shock and disappointment at this park being targeted by thugs again.



Waste

"Well, firstly I'm shocked this has occurred again. A particular group of people are obviously responsible for this waste of money and facilities. I don't know what they had in mind but you would have to be very stupid to think you could damage a play unit like in this way and not think it could cause harm to a child.

"Fingal council is strapped for cash; parents are strapped for cash too. Fingal can't keep replacing the damaged equipment; we just don't have the money. It's a lot of time and money involved and these people are really hitting their own community. It's the worst thing at the worst time," the councillor said.

Cllr Kelleher admitted that there could be no repairs made to the park equipment.

"There's a strong possibility that the equipment that is damaged won't be repaired. The council couldn't take the risk of a child being injured if it is dangerous.

"It's disgraceful really, damage caused by mindless individuals", he added.

Fianna Fail's Cllr Darragh Butler voiced his opinion of those responsible: "They're trying to sabotage the equipment to cause injury to a child. It's absolutely disgraceful and they must have no conscience. They're thugs, the lowest of the low. The fact that they are trying to hide what they've done is shocking."

Mr Butler's party colleague, Michael Kennedy TD was so stunned the park had been damaged again he "can't find the words to describe my absolute contempt for these people".

Despite Swords Town Park being closed at 9pm each night during the summer, an open stile at North Street is allowing 24-hour access to the park.

Reports have emerged that the council simply do not have the resources to close off the stile leaving the playground exposed to future vandalism.

A council spokesperson encouraged any member of the public with information on those vandals who caused the damamge to contact local gardai immediately.

hnews@herald.ie


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