herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Three football clubs targeted in arson attacks

THESE three soccer club facilities were burned to the ground in a deliberate arson attack in Dublin.

Whitestown United, Phibsboro Celtic and the Hartstown/Huntstown soccer clubs had been using storage containers for over 20 years to store their equipment and to use as changing facilities.

The children, women and men's football clubs in Dublin 15 are now back to square one after their entire existing facilities were torched to the ground, causing thousands of euro worth of damage.

The three attacks happened on three consecutive nights.

And it's believed the thugs even brought cutting equipment to get into the containers to start the fire.

Con Maguire of Pinebrook Celtic said that it has devastated the team.



Trouble

"Now we're in big trouble," he told the Herald. "We had a few bob to pay for a pitch but we'll have to start fundraising again.

"We had nets, training gear, corner flags. Even the containers themselves. We got them about 20 years down ago in the docks for about €1,000."

He said the players are baffled about why they were targeted.

"It seemed to be orchestrated. They used petrol and it was done by night.

"And they definitely had equipment.

"They cut through half inch steel to get doors open. So they must have had some kind of machinery."

"It's absolutely mindless."

Now Mr Maguire said they the open, gutted containers could be dangerous for young children in the area.

The coaches of all three sports clubs have to bring any training gear home for safekeeping and bring nets and cones with them when they play at home or away.

But Mr Maguire said that the club is scared that even if they manage to replace some of our equipment they will be targeted again.

Fingal County Council's representative said that the council is committed to working with the clubs affected to "repair, improve or replace storage facilities as necessary within current resources."

"The council has an excellent working relationship with the clubs using Hartstown Park, and we have formed a joint committee to manage the newly completed all-weather pitch," the spokesperson said.

"The relocation of the storage containers will be examined as an option in conjunction with the management of this new facility."

claire murphy@herald.ie

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