Westmeath County Council has vowed to support the local Gardai with their ongoing investigations into a break-in and robbery incident which occurred at the Athlone Civic Centre during this past weekend.
In a statement released by the local authority, it was noted that a large number of bikes which had been donated by the public to the ‘School Bikes for Africa’ charity scheme were stolen and the locked container in which they were contained had the doors damaged in order to gain access.
Westmeath County Council, in partnership with Rotary Club Ireland, established the ‘Bike for Africa’ scheme in both Athlone and Mullingar.
“It is particularly disappointing that these individuals choose to target a charity scheme which is designed to benefit those who are most in need. Since we launched the School Bikes for Africa scheme in August, the response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People from Athlone and surrounding areas have donated old and unused bikes which were destined to help children in Africa to access education. Every bike donated was giving a young child an opportunity to attend school, something they may not be able to do otherwise. We will assist the Gardai in their efforts to identify those responsible,” John Jackson Environmental Awareness Officer, Westmeath County Council, said.
“We are very disappointed to learn of this theft and we are working with Westmeath County Council and local Gardai to investigate the matter. All in Rotary would like to thank the public in Athlone for their brilliant support of this initiative so far,” Jason Dempsey, Rotary Ireland District International Services Team Lead, added.