Burnt-out cars destroy new juvenile GAA pitch

By Mary Dennehy

A NEW juvenile GAA pitch in Tallaght is the latest community space to be destroyed by burnt-out cars, after three vehicles were set alight on the playing field in recent days.

Incidents of burnt-out and abandoned cars are on the increase across South Dublin County, with 224 reports received by South Dublin County Council between January and May of this year.

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The figure for the first five months of 2016 is not far behind the number of abandoned and burnt-out cars reported across the county in 2015 – which, for the entire 12 months, totalled 251.

Most recently a new juvenile pitch connected to St Mark’s GAA Club, which was developed earlier this year and is used by up to 200 young club members, was targeted by joyriders.

Conor Casey, the secretary of St Mark’s GAA Club, said: “This pitch was traditionally an adult hurling pitch, but earlier this year we put up new goal-posts to create an additional juvenile pitch – due to fundraising.

“The club and its volunteers puts a lot of effort into providing facilities for ourselves and the wider community and it’s so disappointing when something like this happens.

“Not only does it destroy the pitches but it impacts on young players getting out and also has a negative impact on the image of the club and the wider community.”

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He added: “This is not the first time that cars have been burnt-out on one of our pitches and our long-term goal is to secure the pitches and somehow prevent cars and scramblers from gaining access.”

Dublin South West Sinn Fein TD, Sean Crowe believes that intervention is needed for both the community and those engaging in anti-social behaviour.

He said: “There has been a spate of burnt-out cars lately, which is endangering communities and also taking community resources away from families.

“The council has to look at how the cars are getting onto the pitches and better secure our community spaces – and there is a policing issue here too.

He added: “Activity like this is soul-destroying for communities and clubs, especially at the height of the summer when people are out and about enjoying local green spaces.

“There is a long-term issue that has to be looked at here too and that’s the young people engaged in joyriding.

“These young people are just chasing the buzz and sadly a lot of them will end up chasing a different type of buzz, heavy drugs, as they get older.

“As joyriding and burnt-out cars continues to rise, some sort of an intervention plan needs to be put in place.”

South Dublin County Council told The Echo that they did receive calls concerning the cars at St Mark’s GAA club and that removal was arranged.

A senior officer at Tallaght Garda Station has encouraged the community to always report abandoned or burnt-out cars to the station, which will assist officers in working with communities and the council.

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