GARDAÍ are investigating the disappearance of 27 of 30 signs erected as part of a €50,000 local authority improvement programme to the scenic cliff walk at the west Clare resort of Kilkee.
Superintendent Gerry Wall said: “We believe that the taking of the signs was carried out locally.”
Last month, Clare County Council provoked widespread anger as a result of the upgrade works, with architect Hugh Murray describing the works as “a horror show”.
He asked: “How could so much damage be done to such a scenic natural setting in the name of improvements?”
Kilkee mayor Cllr Elaine Haugh Hayes also said the works had “caused uproar in the community”.
Now, gardaí have confirmed that the 27 signs valued at €4,536 have been stolen.
Supt Wall, who is leading the investigating, believes a number of people were involved in taking the signs, pointing out that they are heavy to carry.
However, he said: “To take this amount of signs because you object to something is compulsive, drastic behaviour.
“There have been a number of tragedies along the cliff walk of people falling into the sea. All of these were visitors to Kilkee. None of them were locals and these signs were advising people of the dangers at the cliff walk and they were put there to prevent future tragedies. The taking of these signs is putting someone in danger.”
Cllr Haugh Hayes said yesterday “local people were not shocked to hear that the signs have been stolen because of the uproar they have caused”.
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