Vandals damage blackbird statue
RATHDRUM Tidy Towns have lashed out at the 'mindless vandals' who damaged the blackbird monument in the centre of the town at the weekend.
Chairperson of the Tidy Towns Association, Brian Byrne, said he had received a call early on Sunday morning and went to inspect the damage.
Gardai were also called.
He said the metal blackbird had been pulled from the stone and the legs broken. The sculptor, Ellie McNamara, has been onsite to assess the damage but Mr. Byrne said they have received no details of the cost of repair yet.
'While the actual damage doesn't look too bad, there is a large amount of damage to the internal structure and the fixings on the stone have also been removed. We haven't received a quote yet but I suspect it will be a significant amount.
'The gardai are actively investigating the matter and in addition to the blackbird being damaged up to 15 heather plants that were planted around the stone were also damaged.
'It's pure mindless vandalism, absolutely mindless. It's actually disgusting when you think about it. Not just from the point of view of the community but also the hard working volunteers who had been working very hard with us.
'We've received great support from the local community in the past number of years and while we did receive official funding for the sculpture it was also part funded by donations and fundraisers organised in the local community.
'The damage could also affect our Tidy Towns marking because judging started officially on June 1 so we don't know when the judges could arrive in the town.
'It's very disheartening to wake up to news like this.'
Rathdrum resident and former councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy said he is appalled by the damage caused calling the vandals 'scurrilous scumbags'.
He said the sculpture had been a focal point in the town adding 'it was not the locals that did this.
'If people want to come into this town of ours for the weekend and enjoy themselves that's ok but the Tidy Towns Committee have done quite a lot of good work in this town in keeping our town clean and tidy putting in lots of time making it more tourist friendly why should we allow these scurrilous people to destroy our town.'
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Rathdrum Garda Station on 0404 46206.