Cost of repairing Lough Ross vandalism ‘will be huge’

June 1, 2010

By Brónagh Murphy

It is expected the repair bill for damage caused by vandals at Lough Ross Amenity Site near Crossmaglen last weekend will run into thousands of pounds.

Council workers began a huge clean up and repair operation at popular beauty spot on Monday last after vandals wreaked havoc at the site over the weekend.

The warm weather drew dozens of youths to the area where, unfortunately, their fun and high spirits led to damage and destruction.

Empty alcohol bottles, cans and rubbish were strewn across the site while a section of the perimeter fencing was smashed.

The culprits also targeted the toilet facilities at the site, ripping doors off, smashing hand dryers and pulling electric wiring out.

Council workers spent all day on Monday cleaning up the area, filling more than 30 refuse bags of litter, while repairs to the sanitary facilities will be ongoing.

Lough Ross amenity site has been targeted by vandals a number of times in the past.  In September 2008 vandals smashed a newly-installed jetty which had been installed just days before.

Crossmaglen Sinn Féin councillor, Terry Hearty, says he is appalled at this latest vandalism at the site.

“I really am at a loss to know what goes through the heads of people who do this sort of thing in such a lovely place,” Councillor Hearty said.

“Lough Ross is one of the only natural water resources we have in the area and it has been extensively renovated and upgraded over recent years to allow people to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and stunning views.  It’s such a shame that as soon as the weather gets hot the vandals move in and destroy this amenity for everyone.

“The cost of repairing all the damage will be huge and in this climate of cuts, we will need to put a very strong case to the Council for more money.  I only hope that we will be able to restore Lough Ross to its former state and I appeal to those who carry out these sort of actions to think of others and to cease carrying out these attacks on the community.”

Meanwhile the Crossmaglen Community Association expressed its fear that the Council may be forced to close the facility to the public should incidents such as this reoccur.

A spokesperson for the Association appealed to parents to make sure they know the whereabouts of their children and ensure they are not involved in any such detrimental activity.