herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

'The heart of Bluebell stopped beating' after vandals damage centre

The Bluebell Youth and Community Centre has been forced to close because of vandalism
The Bluebell Youth and Community Centre has been forced to close because of vandalism

Vandals caused "sickening" damage at a community centre described as the "heart" of a South Dublin neighbourhood.

Bluebell Youth and Community Centre, in Dublin 12, was forced to close last Sunday after a break-in. It has yet to reopen.

The centre is used for a variety of community events and classes.

"Notice to all customers and clients, due to a second break-in in the centre, unfortunately the centre will not be in operation for a while," a statement read.

Cash

It is understood that the interior of the youth centre was damaged and a sum of cash was taken from vending machines.

Councillor Daithi Doolan described the centre as the "heart" of Bluebell and called on any witnesses to come forward.

"It's the very heart of this community, and that heart has momentarily stopped beating," Mr Doolan said. "It's an attack on the whole community, an act of sheer vandalism."

Mr Doolan said he would raise with Dublin City Council the possibility of additional security measures.

"We're calling on gardai to make sure the person is brought to justice for this incident.

"Dublin has fewer gardai than ever and more demand - it's not a good cocktail," he added.

"We need to look at CCTV and security preventions."

Councillor Greg Kelly saw the damage on a visit to the centre.

"This is not just an attack on a building but an attack on the community as a whole," he said.

This DCC facility is used by every group in Bluebell, from children and youths, disability groups, mothers and fathers and the senior citizen.

"Having seen the damage first-hand I can only express my shock that individuals would do this to the community."

There was wanton damage to every part of the centre, he said.

Meanwhile, one Bluebell resident said: "Absolutely sickened to hear this. So many different groups in the community benefit from the services."

Gardai are investigating the break-in, which happened last Sunday between 3am and 4.30am, but are yet to make an arrest.

A spokesperson said a large number of vending machines were ransacked, money taken and damage caused.

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