The “sickening” vandalism at a playground in Edenderry on Halloween night is a symptom of a serious drink and drugs problem in the town.
That’s according to Cllr Noel Cribbin, who was speaking after “mindless thugs” caused an estimated €3,000 worth of damage to the town’s playground in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Among the items damaged was a swing for children with disabilities.
Cllr Noel Cribbin said that he and the other members of the playground committee are “absolutely gutted at the sheer vandalism and destruction carried out by some mindless thugs on Halloween night in Edenderry”.
“Committee members and the local Garda were up and down to the playground several times during the night to check on the playground with not a sinner in sight. But at 1am in the morning an organised group met and were still heard there at 4am when most people were in their beds.”
He said the vandals used new timber fencing as firewood for their bonfires. A bonfire was lit under a special swing for kids with disabilities which was subsequently destroyed.
Cllr Cribbin said there was up to €3,000 worth of damage done and he does not know what the committee can do now.
“We as a committee receive no annual funding from Offaly County Council and any expenses, upgrades or repairs have to come from fundraising, as there is no charge or membership in the Playground. I am not sure what we are going to do or whether to walk away.”
Cllr Cribbin believes that the vandalism at the playground is not an isolated incident but a symptom of Edenderry’s wider drink and drugs problem; a problem he says needs to be addressed.
“The people in Edenderry and particularly the local Garda are going to have to get to the bottom of the drug and drink problems of some sections of our community. I have raised this issue with the local Garda and our Chief Superintendent in the last few years and at public Joint Policing Meetings and to date not enough has been done to cut out this growing problem.
“I again call on the Garda to put in all the resources at their disposal and to try and break up this drug culture that has crept up on the youth and the people of Edenderry,” Cllr Cribbin said.
Gardai have launched an investigation into the incident and examining CCTV footage in the area. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Edenderry Garda Station on 0469731290.