[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A community has been left reeling after a vital resource was rendered unusable after two subsequent break-ins.
Bluebell Community Centre was forced to take to social media on Sunday afternoon, posting on Facebook that due to a second break-in, the centre was forced out of operation and closed to the public.
A number of events were planned in the centre in the coming days, including a surprise trip for children on Tuesday.
Posting to Facebook, management of the centre said: “Notice to all customers and clients – due to a second break-in at the centre, unfortunately the centre will not be in operation for a while.
“Please note all classes will be off, and we are closed to the public.”
Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF) said that the vandal who broke into the centre appeared to have attempted to break into a local pub, before making their way to the community centre.
He told Dublin Gazette: “From what I understand, it was all internal damage to the centre that will take a week or more to repair. There was substantial damage internally, and it’s a real shame the community will lose this facility while repairs are on-going.
“This isn’t just a break-in, but an attack on the local community. The centre is used by residents young and old, and it’s used frequently.
“It’s become a great resource for the community, and I hope whoever carried out this attack is brought to justice.”
Cllr Greg Kelly (SF), who visited the centre and witnessed the vandalism first-hand, said he was shocked that someone would cause this level of damage to the community hub.
He said: “This Dublin City Council facility is used by every group in Bluebell, from children to disability groups, mothers and fathers, and senior citizens.
“Having seen the damage first-hand, I can only express my shock that individuals would do this to the community and staff.
“There was wanton damage to every part of the centre.
“The resulting damage had denied everyone access, with the centre not being able to open for a week. The community need to be supported in getting this centre open at the earliest opportunity.”
Locals who regularly use the community centre have also been left reeling, saying that what happened to the centre is terrible.
Some have also offered to help with the clean-up and repair efforts.
Cheryl Doherty said: “Absolutely sickened to hear this. So many different groups in the community benefit from the services in the centre. People from the community will help in the clean-up if needed.”
Jennifer Roche said: “It’s a sad time for our community … the amazing staff are out of work, the whole community is upset by this … [it’s] the most upsetting thing I’ve ever come across.
“The staff in the centre are nothing but loving, helpful and amazing to every man, woman or child that walks through their doors, and this is the respect they get.
“Sometimes you ask yourself, why bother building up a community when you have the likes of this happen?”
An Garda Siochana confirmed to Dublin Gazette that there was a break-in at 4am on Sunday morning, with a small amount of cash taken alongside the extensive damage caused. Investigations are still ongoing.
The community centre have taken to Facebook since, thanking locals for their support.