Quad bikes force kids off pitches

By Maurice Garvey

QUAD bike thugs forced parents to take their terrified children off playing pitches on Christmas morning – and a number of sports grounds were damaged over the holiday period.

According to Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan, vandals destroyed three pitches in Drimnagh and Bluebell.

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Rubbish was burnt at the all-weather pitch in Good Counsel

“One in Benmadigan, one in Brickfield, and rubbish was taken out and burnt at the all-weather part of the club in Good Counsel,” said Cllr Doolan.

“In Benmadigan, when the bikes were on the pitch, which is owned by St John Bosco’s, the local soccer club, people had to rush out and bring children off the park who were actually using it to enjoy Christmas morning.

“It was an absolute disgrace that children were being terrorised. It is hard to understand what it is like when bikes are outside your door, screeching. Their sole aim isn’t to enjoy themselves but to terrorise and damage the community.”

Cllr Doolan said soccer clubs cannot now play friendlies at the pitches, and called on Dublin City Council to repair the damage as soon as possible.

Cllr Vincent Jackson said scramblers were also to blame for destroying a pitch in Cherry Orchard, used by football club Orchard Celtic.

“I read recently that the government for the first time ever, are now looking at primary legislation in relation to the banning of these things.

That should have happened years ago, but because they are ‘off-road vehicles’ (it didn’t happen),” said Cllr Jackson.

“You have to question why parents would buy these for their children. In the last five years in the city council’s administrative area, four people have been killed on these bikes, a lad was hurt really bad over in Darndale and 37 people have had life-changing injuries.”

City council Area Manager, Mary Taylor, acknowledged the inter-departmental review, which is looking into the issue of scramblers and quad bikes, including looking at primary legislation.

Ms Taylor cited the garda policy of not pursuing kids on quads, and the current situation, with quad bikes not registered because they are considered off-road vehicles.

“There is a number of significant issues. It is not just children using these bikes, but teenagers and people over the age of 18,” she said.

“A significant number of these vehicles are stolen and the guards are looking at that aspect of it.

The Lord Mayor convened a group before Christmas and will be reconvened very shortly looking at the city council’s response.”

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