School vandalism adds to policing pressure

by Emma Nolan
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Ballinteer Community School was broken into and vandalised over the weekend.
Gardai have confirmed to The Gazette that they are investigating a burglary at the school. This is the second burglary to happen at the school in five months following a previous break in in December.
A spokesperson for An Garda Siochaina said: “We are investigating a burglary at Ballinteer Community School. The premises were entered in the early hours of April 15 over the weekend.”
They confirmed that there was damage to the alarm, interior of the school and vending machines but it is not clear what was stolen at this stage.
School principal David O’Connell spoke to The Gazette about the incident that caused “extensive damage to the school”.
“They broke into offices, classrooms and there was a small amount of cash taken but we don’t hold cash at the school.”
O’Connell said he and other staff members are currently tallying up the damage.
“Doors and glass panes were broken and just a lot of damage in general,” he said and estimated that fixing the damage will cost “several thousand euro”.
Despite the damage caused, O’Connell said that the school was “fully functional again on Monday morning” and there was no disruption to students following caretaking staff working extensively to clean up the damage over the weekend.
Speaking on the incident, local TD Deputy Josepha Madigan (FG) said: “The latest burglary and vandalism of a local school is very upsetting. I wish the gardai every success in investigating the matter.”
Independent TD Shane Ross said that the situation has become “intolerable” in light of rising crime in the area since the closure of Stepaside Garda Station.
Speaking to The Gazette he said: “Crime in the Dundrum and Stepaside areas has reached a new low with the news that Ballinteer Community School was broken into last week. Vandalising classrooms is repulsive behaviour.
“In the last two weeks I have raised crime in the area at the talks to form a government. Any new government should re-open Stepaside Garda Station and insist on more community gardai and increased policing in Dundrum, Ballinteer and all the neighbouring estates.
“The situation has become intolerable.”
Gardai from Dundrum Garda Station are investigating the incident and will be examining CCTV footage. No arrests have been made and gardai are appealing to anyone who may have information to contact Dundrum Garda Station.

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