Sunday 25 February 2018

'A new low' for town as Hope stone smashed

The Hope plaque damaged in Pearse Park
The Hope plaque damaged in Pearse Park

David Looby

The smashing of a stone plaque erected in New Ross park last September to commemorate local people who have died by suicide and to offer a place where their bereaved can visit, has been described as a new low for the town.

Patrick Bennett of the New Me New Ross mental health support group was contacted by someone who was visiting the stone at Pearse Park, which is located beside a tree of hope, early last week.

Patrick said: 'She was truly heartbroken at what she found, especially given that it was her suggestion to have the tree in the first place.'

Describing the destruction of the stone, which has a positive, hope filled poem written on it, as 'utterly disgusting vandalism', he said: 'Words fail me to describe the feelings of those for whom this was a place of hope, love and remembrance of those poor souls that are sadly no longer with us nor the people who so kindly donated their time and more in the "hope" that it may bring a little flicker of love and light into the darkness of those in mental anguish. It is a very sad and new low for the town.'

Patrick and the people behind the hope stone were surprised and delighted to receive an offer from a local man to replace the stone within hours of the news breaking.

Patrick said: 'Thankfully among the many messages of disgust and anger we received that night there was a hugely generous gesture by Mr John Kearns who was so outraged by what had happened that he has offered to replace the stone in conjunction with the help of Mr Claude Clancy and the staff of New Ross municipal district council.'

This is due to happen over the coming weeks.

New Ross Standard

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