‘Appalling’ vandalism destroys play space

by Gazette Reporter

A children’s play-space in Hermitage Park was destroyed last Thursday night after being set alight by vandals, an act local councillor Danny O’Brien has described as “appalling”.
The rubber mats were set on fire shortly before midnight, according to Mr O’Brien, who visited the site the following morning.
The councillor admitted it was the latest act of vandalism in a public space which has been beset with anti-social behaviour in recent years.
“It’s mindless vandalism,” he said.
“It’s a disgrace because the park is used every day by kids on the way home from school and it’s very busy at weekends. The play space is only there about 12 months, and it’s terrible to see acts of vandalism like this in a well-used facility.”
The play space was created for use by children up to eight years of age and was popular with local residents, but now the entire rubber matting has been left charred and unusable.
The local council is understood to be working with the gardai to investigate the crime, with fresh calls for CCTV installation to help prevent further vandalism in the area.
“We’ve been in touch with Ronanstown Garda station and they’re doing their best with the resources they have,” said O’Brien. “If they see any kids drinking they’re running them out of there. If they’re teenagers who are doing this, you’d have to question the parents who are letting these kids do these things of an evening. It might be time to put CCTV on it.”
O’Brien is adamant that despite the damage, the play space will be repaired and put back in use for local residents.
“It was really disheartening, but I would be a big fan of getting these play spaces rolled out,” he said.
“The sooner the council get out there and get it back in use for the residents, the better. There’s one in Sarsfield Park, another in Haydens Park, and they’re going alright at the moment.
“The way it works, it’s not swings and slides and roundabout; it’s things like logs and stones and sand, which help kids use their imagination.
“There’s a lovely one up in Tallaght behind the shopping centre, and the council are doing their best to maintain them, but to see that happening, it’s disgraceful.
“I wouldn’t be in favour of having it taken out. People should be using it for what it should be used.”

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