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Inner city club ‘devastated’ after further vandalism to pitches

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It is the third such incident in the last four months after damage was previously caused to the pitch by a car. The pitch is used for underage football teams.

Dublin City Council believes two stolen motorbikes caused the latest damage in Fairview Park observed on Saturday morning.

Sheriff YC, Belvedere Youth Football Club, and East Wall Bessborough FC have all endured similar acts of vandalism over the last year on their nearby Alfie Byrne Road pitch.

Secretary of Sheriff YC Football Club, Stephen Dunleavy, told the Irish Independent that DCC has installed some new barriers preventing cars from getting on the pitches; however, people using bicycles and motorbikes can still gain access to the fields.

“We’re appealing for anyone doing this to stop because of the impact it is having on the kids,” Mr. Dunleavy said.

“We haven’t been able to play on the pitches since before Christmas, and it’s super frustrating for our volunteers, kids, and all our members.”

Many of the pitches in the park were said to be unplayable last weekend due to the weather, and now the latest damage has left a wide series of crisscrossed track marks behind, damaging the grass.

In a statement, Sheriff YC said they are feeling “devastated”.

They called for the redevelopment of the Alfie Byrne Road pitch for kids to “play football safely”.

Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam told the Irish Independent that he would be raising the issue today at the Dublin City Council Central Area Meeting Committee.

“It’s heartbreaking; between the clubs of Sheriff YC, Belvedere, and others, there are roughly 30 different teams that use these pitches every weekend,” he said.

The latest damage to pitches in Fairview have left a wide series of crisscrossed muddy track marks behind, damaging the grass

“This is offensive, idiotic, mind-numbingly stupid behaviour by a small cohort of people.

“I want to see how we can restrict or hamper this access while also making sure that families with prams can also access the park.”

Cllr McAdam noted that a visible garda presence has been noticed in the park following the recent incidents.

He outlined that residents in the area have reiterated their concerns around scrambler bikes, quad bikes, and new electric bikes that have a lot of power accessing the park via the footbridge over the Tolka from East Wall Road.

Daniel Ennis, Vice-Chairperson of the neighbouring East Wall Bessborough Football Club, said that he finds this recent incident “unbelievable”.

“We need to upgrade these playing spaces if we are to safeguard them for future use,” he said.

“We cannot police our way out of this; we need to close off these pitches that have been frequently used by these sports clubs for decades now; they deserve better.

“Upgrading them and closing them off will be the ultimate deterrent to the antisocial behaviour that has plagued these spaces for years now,” he added.

DCC said in a statement to RTÉ news that an alternative pitch at Belcamp is now being offered to clubs.

It added that the two motorbikes gained access to Fairview Park through pedestrian and bicycle entrances.

The motorbikes have since been removed by gardaí who are investigating the incident.

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon spoke out on the incident on Twitter, saying that the clubs who use these pitches have been highlighting these issues for months.

“The gardaí failure to investigate, DCC’s failure to make these places safe, it’s incredibly disheartening,” he added.

An Garda Síochána confirmed to the Irish Independent that they seized two motorcycles located in the Fairview Park area of Dublin 3 at approximately 8:30am on Saturday, February 10.

Dublin City Council a have been contacted for comment.

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