Gardai set to identify vandals who thrashed Sean Walsh Park playground

By Mary Dennehy

CLEAR CCTV footage and video evidence is being examined by Gardai in an attempt to identify the members of a 30-strong gang of youths, who thrashed the newly refurbished playground in Sean Walsh Park last weekend, and set the playspace’s rubber surfacing on fire.

Last Saturday, February 11, a group of more than 30 youths descended on the playground in Sean Walsh Park and, alongside leaving a large quantity of broken glass for visiting families to find the next morning, set fire to the playspace’s rubber surfacing.

Sean Walsh Park damage 16022017

However, the gang, which gathered in the community space between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, was captured on CCTV, footage which South Dublin County Council has now passed onto Gardai.

Teresa Walsh, Director of Environment, Water and Climate Change with the council, told The Echo: “Last Saturday, a group of approximately 30 youths gathered in the playground of Sean Walsh Park and proceeded to carry out anti-social behaviour which included smashing a large quantity of glass bottles in the children’s space and setting fire to the protective rubber surfacing that covers the playground area.

“The playground has since been cleaned and a contractor has been engaged to carry out repairs to the floor surface.”

“It is disappointing that the newly refurbished playground was subjected to this senseless behaviour.

“The council is working with the Gardai to identify the culprits, there is clear CCTV and video evidence which has been passed on to the Gardai for examination.”

In an attempt to enhance the quality of life for residents, the council has introduced an ambitious programme of works which sees the provision of playgrounds and family spaces in communities and parks throughout the county, with each playspace designed in consultation with communities and promoting natural play.

However, concerns have been raised over the safety of new playgrounds, including the new playspace soon to open in Tymon Park – especially in light of an arson attack on the Kaos Nitro Racing track in Tymon Park last week.

The volunteer-run racing track was set alight by vandals for a fourth time, who, it is believed, poured petrol into the pipes that act as barriers around the track before setting them alight.

When asked about the security of the new playspace in Tymon Park, which is due to open to the public in late March, Ms Walsh said: “The new playground in Tymon Park is constructed in the most public part of the park beside the Rangers station and the apartments.

“The newer natural-style playgrounds are less susceptible to fire damage as natural materials such as grass, wood fibre and sand are used instead of rubber surfacing.”

Garda at Tallaght confirmed to The Echo that they are working with the council in identifying those responsible for the criminal damage in Sean Walsh Park.

Anybody who witnesses anti-social behaviour in a public park or playspace is encouraged to call Tallaght Garda Station on 6666000 or South Dublin County Council on 4149000.

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