Anti-social thugs cost clubs thousands in damage repairs

By Maurice Garvey

MEASURES to curb anti-social behaviour at the car park and grounds in Weston Hockey Club can’t arrive soon enough for members.

The club estimate thugs have caused approximately €80k to €90k worth of damage since 2006 – thanks to callous attacks on the all-weather pitch and club property at Griffeen Valley Park.

A lack of light in the car park at Newcastle Road has also led to “numerous” car break-ins over the last two years.

The problems affect other sports clubs who utilise the grounds, such as Lucan Harriers AC, Lucan Sarsfields, not too mention visiting teams.

Weston Hockey club resized

Vandals ripped up part of the all-weather pitch at the end of August and only last week, knocked the front gate in the car park off its hinges – causing embarrassment for club officials who arrived the next day with a junior sports teams from South Africa to play an exhibition match.

Independent councillor Leona O’Toole, a member of Weston Hockey Club, asked South Dublin County Council to install lights at the car park.

Cllr O’Toole said: “The initial idea was to put additional lights on the Newcastle Road, but the trees crowded the lights. I asked for a new system of lighting in the car park, and that will be included in the capital programme for 2016.

“But we need lights now. People are trying to get out of the car park in darkness, and it’s only going to get worse in the weeks ahead.”

She continued: “SDCC came up with the idea in the interim to pin back the trees and hopefully that will be done by early November. It’s great that we have a commitment, but this is an emergency. There were five break-ins at cars in one week and a couple of weeks ago someone from Kildare visiting the club, suffered a break-in.”

Weston Hockey Club Chairman Emmet Hutchin said vandals “have been attacking the gates for years” and estimates “€80k to €90k” worth of damage since 2006.

Mr Hutchin said: “Ripping the pitch at the end of summer cost up to €2k, there are numerous holes in the fence, it cost €60k to repair the fire damage when the project started in 2006, and everytime two sets of goals are destroyed, it costs €3k to €4k a pop.

“The council told us they were not putting up lights, then they said they were putting up double lights on the road, they were not putting up double lights, and they are putting up lights again. We are hopeful lights will make a difference but it’s a case of when and if.”

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