Up to €10k worth of damage was caused to a volunteer-run children’s sailing club at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire last weekend when vandals went on a robbery and slashing spree around boat clubs at the pier.
The Irish Youth Sailing Club, which teaches children how to operate and sail all types of boats, saw one of their junior safety training boats slashed and left floating in the sea nearby. It also had its engine stolen.
The boat itself will cost €7,000 to replace and the engine will cost €2,500 to replace.
Kyron O’Gorman who runs the Irish Youth Sailing Club (IYSC) said: “When I got there on Sunday morning, I saw a boat deflated on the water and I thought it might have broken away from the boat storage of a yacht club.
“A few minutes later, however, I realised it was one of our junior safety training boats. We went out and pulled it in and we realised it had been badly vandalised. The tubes had been slashed to pieces and the engine on it had been stolen. When we got the boat in then, we started to realise that there had been more damage done in the area.”
Kyron explained that the Dun Laoghaire Sea Scouts had an engine stolen off one of its sail training boats and all of the boat’s equipment was thrown into the sea.
“As the morning continued we heard more news that a committee boat that belonged to Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club had its windows smashed open and doors smashed off and it was ransacked as well.
“Following that then, there was another yacht belonging to a yachtsman in Dun Laoghiare Motor Yacht Club (DMYC) that had its outboard engine also stolen.”
Kyron explained that most of the boats were docked at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire and it is an area that is becoming increasingly difficult to police.
“The back of the West Pier has gone very sterile, it’s very difficult for a person to park a car there. On a Sunday afternoon, typically it’s going to be interfered with,” explained Kyron.
“Gardai are doing all they can but it’s a worry now as to where we can put a boat that will be safe or what we can do now to continue on our operation.”
In good news, however, members of the DMYC went out searching for some of the stolen boat engines this week and discovered three engines stashed under some bushes in the old abandoned Shell chemical site at the rear of the West Pier on Monday evening.
“We were delighted about that. The only loss for us now is that the junior training boat was slashed and destroyed and the second concern that we have is that one of the yachts that was vandalised had a safety pack in it that contained flair rockets which could be used in emergencies.
“We are concerned about members of the public finding them and being curious and taking the caps off the end of them and not knowing what they are.”
The Gazette contacted gardai who said they are investigating several incidents, including thefts and a criminal damage incident, which occurred at the West Pier in Dun Laoghaire last weekend.
A Garda spokesperson said: “All incidents are being fully and thoroughly investigated. There are incidents recorded wherein damage was caused to boats; the damage caused to one particular boat is considerable in value.”
Any person who may have witnessed any suspicious activity over the weekend in the vicinity of the West Pier, Dun Laoghaire are requested to contact Dun Laoghaire Garda Station (01) 6665000.