GAA pitches are torn up by scramblers once again
PITCHES in Killinarden Park used by Croí Ró Naofa GAA Club were once again damaged by scrambler bike riders last week – this is the third incident of this nature that has occurred in the park since the beginning of this year.
For Croí Ró Naofa, this marks the latest in a series of anti-social behaviour incidents that have left their pitches unplayable and continue to disrupt their training and match-playing schedules.
Significant damage was caused to the pitches last Wednesday, February 23, with heavily embedded tyre tracks from the scrambler bikes rendering the pitches unfit for use.
A Croí Ró Naofa spokesperson told The Echo: “The pitches are dreadful now. Two or three of us from the club committee went down to the pitches last week, looked at each other and said, ‘It’s after happening again’.
“We’re at this so long now, something has to be done for the club. We can do absolutely nothing – we can’t even train.
“To do a bit of training, we’ve to train on the astro turf behind the community centre now.”
Local Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe described the latest incident as an act of “wanton vandalism”.
Deputy Crowe said: “The GAA playing pitches in Killinarden Park have been torn up by scramblers once again.
“I have seen the photos and witnessed with my own eyes the damage done and I can only describe it as wanton vandalism.”
As reported in The Echo last August, a garda presence was put in place in order to allow players from Croí Ró Naofa to compete in a match without interference from people on scrambler bikes.
The use of scrambler and quad bikes in the park is a regular occurrence. Volunteers from the club also routinely have to remove broken glass and drug paraphernalia, including used syringes, from the pitches.
However, the most persistent issue affecting the club is the continued breaching of the park’s boundaries by scrambler bike riders and the damage they cause to the pitches.
On the need for legislation to give gardai increased powers to seize scrambler bikes, Deputy Crowe commented: “The Government must make the passing of the Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 a priority in this Dáil term.
“This Bill would allow gardai to seize scramblers being used in a dangerous and reckless manner in public places.
“My Sinn Féin colleagues and I have been calling for such powers for years and the Government’s reluctance is unacceptable and inexplicable.
“Enough is enough. We have appealed to the users of quads and scramblers to use them in a safe and considerate manner in public places, yet we are still seeing our parks ripped up.
“The gardai must be given additional powers to stop and seize these vehicles.
“If you know of anyone using a scrambler to rip up the grass in a public park, they shouldn’t be driving one and if you have any influence to put a stop to it, please use it.”
As for a potential resolution to the repeated damage to Croí Ró Naofa’s pitches, the club spokesperson said: “An enclosed pitch is the only way we’re going to solve this.”
South Dublin County Council previously deemed the fencing off of a pitch in Killinarden Park as an “unsuitable project” for a public park and have instead included plans for raised pitches in the park, surrounded by ‘natural boundaries’, as part of scheduled upgrade works.
A council spokesperson was contacted for comment, but a response wasn’t received at the time of going to print.