€110,000 cost to secure one side of park from vandals

By Mary Dennehy

COMMUNITIES are being robbed of money that could be used to enhance and develop their areas, as council funding is redirected into reversing the damage caused by cars, quads and scramblers.

This week, The Echo has learned that it will cost more than €110K to secure one side of Killinarden Park, which has become a playground for youths in cars.

Cathal King 02

Councillor Cathal King standing at the wall at Killinarden Park which is too low

The ongoing issue of joyriding, and the burning of cars, resulted in local GAA club Croi Ro Naofa being forced off their home ground this season, with the Killinarden-based club not able to play its first home game until May.

According to Tallaght South Sinn Fein councillor Cathal King, the club not only lost its home advantage for the start of the season but was forced to shell out cash for transport to other facilities.

“These clubs are completely strapped for cash and because of a few are forced to pay out additional money,” Cllr King told The Echo.

“It’s not right that they have to leave their community, their home ground, and travel to facilities on the north side of the city because their pitch is unplayable due to the damage from cars.”

A proposal is in place to increase the height of the existing stub wall at the Knockmore Crescent and Knockmore Drive-side, which will cost South Dublin County Council in the region of €110k.

“The current stub wall is too low, they put planks over it and drive over the planks into the park,” Cllr King said.

“The €110K will pay for the addition of a re-enforced stub wall on top of the existing stub wall.

“Railings on top of the wall is an option but I reckon that the wall alone should work.”

When asked if there was any other option than spending €110K on securing the park from joyriders, Cllr King said: “The only other option is to leave them to it.

“If we don’t try and secure the area, they will take over the park.

“This money could be better utilised but we have to reclaim the space for the community and clubs using it.

More than €110k

“It’s going to cost more than €110k to secure the whole park, it’s €110k to secure just the stretch of park at Knockmore Crescent and Knockmore Drive [which is the main entrance point for cars].

He added: “It’s very frustrating as a councillor to be engaging with communities and listening to the innovative ideas they have to better their community . . . but instead of spending money on improving communities, we are spending money on this.

“We are on the back pedal constantly because of youths destroying communities in cars, or on quads and scramblers.

“I don’t think they realise that this money should be going into improving life for their families and neighbours, not undoing the damage they have caused.

“I know how much good this money could do but unfortunately this work is an essential, people need their park back.”

Cllr King raised issues around Killinarden Park at both the recent Tallaght West Local Policing Forum and the Joint Policing Committee meetings.

“We can’t do this without the gardai . . . and we have been told that they will do what they can to support the community,” Cllr King said.

“We all have to work together, the council, community, clubs and gardai to reclaim this space.”

Cllr King also hopes that local communities will play their part in helping to curb this behaviour – and work with the council and gardai in reclaiming not just their green spaces but their funding.

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