Car vandalism puts damper on Halloween

by Ian Begley

UP TO five cars were damaged and broken into during a Halloween community event in Palmerstown during the mid-term break.
A family-friendly Halloween event in Waterstown Park was brought to a disappointing end when participants noticed that a number of cars had been damaged and broken into while they were taking part in a bat walk.
Several people who were personally affected by the incident reported that belongings left inside their cars were stolen.
Alan Hayes, community worker and admin of Palmerstown Neighbourhood Watch’s Facebook page, said that although the event itself was a fantastic success, the incident brought an element of pessimism to those who took part.
He said: “At some point during the bat walk, some opportunists or individual damaged some cars [belonging to the participants] and took their belongings.
“Our initial reaction was shock and disappointment. People were really upset for those who had their property damaged or stolen. It was a sad end to a really great evening.
“Gardai from Ballyfermot made a couple of journeys through the park throughout the evening, but it must have been in between one of their visits that this incident happened.
“Out of all the community bat walks and festivities we had throughout the years, this is the first time that we had one of these negative experiences.
“More than 100 children and parents took part in this community activity and, unfortunately, for some people, it was overshadowed by the acts of these individuals.
“We are now coming up with ideas on how we might prevent anything like this from happening again,” he said.
The Witches, Wellingtons and Bats Walk, organised by community worker Ger Fitzsimons, in association with gardai and South Dublin County Council, saw parents and children taking part in the Halloween event.
Alan said: “Despite what happened, the kids had a really great time this year and put a really big effort into their costumes. It was a great evening, all in all, and it was just unfortunate that this had to happen at the end.
“We have organised several bat walks in the past number of years in Waterstown Park, and as Halloween approached we wanted to provide some entertainment for families.
“Ger did a lot of carpentry for the spooky forest this year. The kids came down and had a chance to use our listening equipment while on the lookout for bats. They had their torches with them and had a really great time walking in Waterstown Park and through the forest.
“We had our hands full this year, [with our] people hiding in the spooky forest, scaring the walkers with skeletons hanging from the trees. Ger also made a couple of coffins to add to the scary atmosphere. It was all really fantastic,” he said.
The Garda Press Office confirmed that the car break-in incident happened at Waterstown Park on Tuesday, October 29.
Gardai are investigating the occurrence and are appealing for any witnesses to call Ballyfermot Garda Station at 01 666 7200.

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