Gardai investigate two fires at Knocknacarra playground

Gardai are investigating two separate fires caused by vandals at a children’s playground in Knocknacarra this week.

The first incident occurred at McGraths field at around eight o clock on Sunday evening when a set of tyres under a swing was set ablaze along with a refuse bin, and there was a further attempt to burn another swing. Part of the playground was sealed off on Monday morning to facilitate a technical examination by gardai. Another fire occurred at about 7pm on Monday evening and a tyre swing was damaged. Gardai in Salthill are investigating the criminal damage, Sergeant Karen Maloney told the Galway Advertiser that the damage was ‘’senseless’’. She is appealing to anybody who saw any suspicious activity or people loitering in the McGraths field area on Sunday or Monday evenings to contact Salthill Garda station on 091-521333.

The Galway City Council which is in charge of the park has removed some of the damaged equipment and it is anticipated that it will cost a substantial amount of money to replace it. The issue was raised at this week’s local authority meeting and Fine Gael councillorPearce Flannery called for CCTV cameras to be installed at these amenities. Cllr Flannery was appalled at the incident, ‘’what occured was absolutely shocking and people who are carrying out these acts of vandalism need to be taken to task.’’ Stephen Walsh, the senior executive parks superintendent, advised that CCTV would require a policy decision as it is a sensitive area which concerns children.

Knocknacarra councillor and Mayor of Galway Donal Lyons also expressed his disgust at what had happened saying; ‘’This is not the first time there has been a fire at this park, it’s absolutely horrendous that these gurriers are allowed to disrupt what is a fantastic facility. It now means more money will have to be found to replace this damaged equipment. All of these items are imported from the UK.’’ Councillor Lyons said he found it difficult to understand the rationale of the kind of people who would carry out this type of damage. ‘’It just beggars belief, this play equipment is installed for the enjoyment of toddlers and young children and then to have this wanton vandalism. I feel very strongly about this. Nobody gains from this, I simply cannot understand why people would do this sort of thing. The alarming thing about this is the equipment that was damaged was not even easily set alight, somebody went to a lot of trouble to do this. What message does this send out to the young people using the playground?’’

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