Cork football clubs appeal for public's help after vandals cause thousands of euro worth of damage

Football clubs in Cork are appealing to members of the public to report anti social behaviour with one facility which has incurred €10,000 worth of damage in just twelve months warning that the situation is a crisis.

Cork football clubs appeal for public's help after vandals cause thousands of euro worth of damage

Football clubs in Cork are appealing to members of the public to report anti social behaviour with one facility which has incurred €10,000 worth of damage in just twelve months warning that the situation is a crisis.

Castleview AFC, in Fairhill on the northside of the city, insist volunteers will drop out unless something is done to alleviate the situation.

In the last year Castleview has had two goalposts smashed to pieces, another goalpost burned and broken whilst a third set had a crossbar stolen rendering it useless.

Their training all weather pitch was burned on a couple of occasions whilst their dugouts and boundary fence have also been damaged. Strimmers, shovels, rakes and tools and accessories have also been stolen.

Ken Trindles, Secretary at the club, says their story is not unique with every club in Cork city being impacted by vandals.

" You are talking €10,000 worth of damage in a year. The summer months would be the worst. They have done damage to the pitches, to the dug outs, to the goal posts.

One pitch was out of action because we had to get new goal posts on it. We couldn't use the goal posts since last August. We generally don't go public because we try to repair it ourselves."

The club caters for kids from five years old whilst also having adult members. 500 people are members of the club.

Mr Trindles says vandalism is a tremendous pressure on the club.

"We are talking more about money now then football and that is a problem. Every one of the clubs has been at the receiving end of damage at some stage."

He says the public volunteer out of the good of their heart but the situation is ever more depressing.

" A lot of people have had enough. You are trying them to persuade them to stay because they are doing a good job."

He is thankful for the huge support they have received from other clubs who have rallied to assist their neighbouring club.

Mr Trindles has called on the general public to contact gardai if they see anyone acting suspiciously around a football club in the city.

"People out walking their dogs who see (suspicious activity) should pick up the phones and ring the guards. We want to get all the clubs involved and the wider community involved."

Mr Trindles has attended a meeting around the matter involving other clubs and representatives of Sinn Fein in the city.

Meanwhile, Sinn Finn has expressed concern about anti social behaviour directed at area sports facilities and City Council owned playgrounds.

The party recently submitted a question at City Council level asking what sanctions are in place in terms of offences at City Council owned parks and other public recreational spaces.

Cllr Kenneth Collins says City Council employees are to be commended on how quickly they repair damage done to playgrounds and parks.

However, he says the city would nearly have another facility on the monies spent to fix damage done via anti social behaviour.

He cites sensless recent senseless damage to Gerry O'Sullivan park in Gurranabraher in the city as being particularly aggravating.

Cllr Collins says awareness needs to grow amongst youngsters in a bid to curb anti social behaviour.

“We need to get the community guard to go in (to schools) and to do a slide show on it. It is all about education in counteracting anti social behaviour."

He says there has been damage to numerous playgrounds in all parts of the city in recent years.

"It seems to be a group of lads and girls who are transient. So basically they go in and do as much damage as possible and move on to the next area.”

Cllr Collins says parents really need to be more proactive in terms of policing the behaviour of their teenagers.

"If you are setting fire to a park you going to have a small of burned rubbish off your clothing. What are the parents thinking when they are getting the smell off their clothes?

There is a small element in every community. It needs to be nipped in the bud. People need to report it when they see it."

In a statement Cork City Council said that in general their parks do not suffer from any major vandalism.

"In some areas, small items have been vandalised in addition to safety surfacing.

There are offenses prescribed in the Cork City Council Parks Cemeteries and Open Spaces Bye Laws 2011 including damage to equipment and including being in a public park after it is closed."

In a response to SF at a recent City Council meeting Valerie O'Sullivan, Director of Services, Environment and Recreation, at Cork City Council said that there is ongoing regular liaison between the City Council's Parks staff and the gardai in relation to vandalism.

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