Vandals attack Belmullet (31 Aug 2006)
A spate of vandalism attacks in Belmullet over the summer has resulted in damage to flowers, plants, furniture and vital life-saving equipment in the town.

The scourge of anti-social behaviour has now reared its ugly head in the normally tranquil seaside town of Belmullet.
Over the last few months, thugs have torn down trees, ripped up expensive shrubs and rose-bushes, overturned flowerpots, set a car and refuse bins on fire, and vandalised life-saving equipment and picnic furniture.
The most recent incident was on Wednesday night, August 23, when two mature sycamore trees were deliberately torn down outside the Ulster Bank on Main Street and Healy’s Pub on the Square.
“It took some maniac just a few minutes to undo almost 20 years of growth,” said Noel Reilly, the Chair of the Tidy Town’s Committee.
“I don’t know who these people are, or what they think they’re damaging; they’re only doing these stupid acts on themselves because these plants belong to the people in the area, so it’s a wasted act of rebellion,” he said.
Noel said the summer season had been particularly bad with drunken yobs doing the most damage on the weekends.
He outlined the damage inflicted on the town over the last few months: rose bushes and shrubs on Ballina Road have been uprooted on a regular basis; half a dozen mature trees have been destroyed; large flowerpots on Carter Square and the Square have been repeatedly overturned; two granite seats beside the footbridge were knocked down and their supports thrown into the canal; a car belonging to a foreign national was set on fire on Pearse Street; a window was broken in the Protestant church (a listed building of architectural merit), which had recently been restored; fencing at the back of property on Main Street has also been kicked down on two separate occasions, and life-saving ring buoys at the Quay, the canal, the dock, and Shore Road are continuously being thrown into the tide.
Clearly frustrated, Noel Reilly said that all of these mindless acts had to be cleaned up by the Council and the Tidy Towns committee.
He also said that the bottle bank in the Docks area was now being used as a dump for household and every type of rubbish, while thugs have also been setting refuse bins alight.
“Somebody has to see these things happening, so we’re pleading with people to come forward, to go to the Gardaí, or speak with someone on the committee.
“Living so close to the sea, it takes a huge amount of effort to grow trees and plants, and we’re just frustrated at the escalation in these outrageous acts this summer,” he said.
Katherine Mangan, the secretary of the Tidy Towns committee, said that graffiti was also becoming a big problem in the town.
“Some of the new apartment complexes in the Dock, and buildings on the Square have been damaged by graffiti,” she said.
“After all the effort we’ve put into improving the town, the lack of respect and damage to public property is very disheartening and upsetting,” Katherine said.

Contact: Niall Reilly The Mayo News
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