'Stop selling spray paints to teens' and end graffiti blight, begs Council
A COUNCIL has called for a ban on selling aerosol spray paint to under-17s in a bid to tackle the growing scourge of graffiti.
South Dublin County Council passed the motion calling on the Government to enact legislation aimed at curbing what was described as an "ever-worsening problem".
The motion was tabled by Labour councillor Breeda Bonner at the local authority's monthly meeting.
She said she was "horrified" to see "tag" graffiti in the middle of Clondalkin village.
It was being done by young people carrying backpacks full of sprays and there was a competitive element to it, she said.
"It is a terrible welcome to our towns and villages and beauty spots to see graffiti everywhere," she said.
Her party colleague Pamela Kearns said it was hugely costly to all councils and needed to be addressed.
Independent councillor Dermot Looney did not agree with the motion, saying he thought the council should be proactive in every area of tackling graffiti, including re-directing young people into more pro-social activities.
He pointed out that some people used aerosols for legitimate reasons, and said a lot of graffiti was carried out using permanent markers.
"It's unworkable. What's stopping someone getting aerosol paints online?" he asked.
Fellow Independent Deirdre O'Donovan said the move would at least make it harder to access the aerosols.
Councillor Francis Timmons, also Independent, said that while he supported the motion, he thought people could be encouraged to use designated "graffiti walls".
He said Clondalkin was "destroyed" with graffiti, and the message had to be sent out that this vandalism was unacceptable.
Fine Gael's Emer Higgins said making the aerosols less accessible was "a good place to start".
Party colleague Colm Brophy said that while he supported the thrust of the motion, he felt it would not work.
"People who want to carry out these acts of graffiti will get the stuff anyway," he said. "We could make every second wall open for graffiti and they wouldn't stop because the whole kick is in doing something that's illegal."
Anne Marie Dermody, also Fine Gael, said the graffiti in question was not artistic.
"What we're talking about here is thuggery," she said.
"This is mass destruction," said Brian Leech of the Anti Austerity Alliance. "It's blackguardery. I've seen cars done, windows and doors in estates."
"Tagging is not art," said Independent Paul Gogarty. "It's just some gobdaw putting their name around."