Green shoots of
recovery after
garden vandalised

The principal of Gaelscoil Longphoirt has been overwhelmed by the support of parents and local businesses after the school’s garden was vandalised last week.

The principal of Gaelscoil Longphoirt has been overwhelmed by the support of parents and local businesses after the school’s garden was vandalised last week.

On Bank Holiday Monday, the school’s garden was almost completely destroyed by a number of youths, who pulled-up flowers, broke trees and trampled fruit bushes. Principal Yvonne Ni Mhurchu was astonished at the level of destruction when she arrived at the school on Tuesday morning.

“It was just blatant vandalism. Oak trees we had planted in a little wooded area were ripped up and broken. Potatoes, strawberries, fruit bushes were all destroyed. We had little wigwams supporting the peas and they were smashed up too,” she said.

Each class, from infants to sixth class, had a patch in the garden, which was aiming to encourage children to become better aware of the environment and to teach them how to grow fruit and vegetables. “The children began working on the garden last February. We were working towards an event this month where we were going to raise the Green Flag at the school. Everyone was really getting involved for the big day,” Mrs Ni Mhurchu told the Leader.

“Just seeing the devastation and the disappointment on the faces of the children is heartbreaking. As odd as this seems, I would rather they had broken the windows at the school, such was the effort of each class in this garden since February,” she said.

However, the response from parents and the community has been very strong since news broke of the vandalism. “Parents have been just fantastic. They’ve been arriving up at the school the last few days with plants helping us get to try and return the garden to some level of normality.”

O’Connor’s Garden Centre and Homebase Longford both arrived up to the school with van loads of plants for the school garden after hearing of the damage to the garden. “It’s terrible, but just seeing the response from everyone, it’s fair to say every cloud has a silver lining,” Mrs Ni Mhurchu added.

This is the first time the school has experienced any vandalism since they moved to the Longford Slashers grounds in 2005. However, less than two weeks before, on May 20, the nearby Canal Studio windows were smashed in the Backstage Theatre.

Gardaí are currently investigating both matters and ask for anyone with information to contact them on 043 33 46741.