Vandals target the former convent hall in Cahersiveen, breaking 15 windows

Some of the damage caused by vandals at the old convent hall in Cahersiveen. Photo by Christy Riordan
Some of the damage caused by vandals at the old convent hall in Cahersiveen. Photo by Christy Riordan

Sinead Kelleher

More than 15 windows were broken in the old convent hall in Cahersiveen on St Stephen's night and thousands of Euros worth of damage was caused by vandals, who it is believed went on a drinking binge in the old building, which is currently being used as a storage facility by local man, John Quirke.

Mr Quirke was alerted to the incident the morning after by his son, John, and couldn't believe the damage caused when he went to the scene.

Two youths were in the building at the time, and it is understood that they were taken to Killarney Garda Station for questioning in relation to the incident.

They were from outside the Cahersiveen area, it is understood. 

"It was in an awful bad state. They caused thousands in damage. The windows alone are worth thousands. I couldn't believe the destruction caused," Mr Quirke said. 

This is the second time that the old convent hall, once a social hub of the town, has been damaged by vandals. The last incident in October also involved damage to the contents of the building but the St Stephen's night incident was much more serious. 

This incident, Mr Quirke believes, is related to anti-social behaviour in the town, and he called for more garda action to counter such incidents.

Shockingly, more criminal damage occurred on December 27, the night after Mr Quirke boarded up the broken windows. Vandals returned that night and spray-painted the building. In a sinister move, they put masks on some of the windows.  

During the October incident, furniture was set alight, and during the Christmas period serious damage was also caused to furniture inside the building. 

Mr Quirke, who is a well-known builder, uses the old convent house for storage for furniture and other building materials. 

"It is frightening what is going on," said Mr Quirke. 

Cllr Norma Moriarty has spoken to gardaí in relation to the incident and she believes that a community alert is needed. A meeting is to take place tonight, Wednesday (9th), in relation to plans for a community alert. 

Gardaí in Cahersiveen have confirmed that they are investigating all incidents and that arrests have been made. They are awaiting forensic results for the October incident.