The closure of rural garda stations is being blamed on the rising number of cases of vandalism in one of south Longford’s most scenic locations.
It follows images taken last week of tyre marks which were left by so-called ‘boy racers’ along the shores of Barley Harbour in Newtowncashel.
Hitting out at the incident, Cllr Mark Casey said the gradual increase in anti-social behaviour had a lot to do with decreasing levels of garda resources.
“It’s such a shame to see this kind of carry on because the people down there and the Tidy Towns group work so hard to keep the village looking the way it does.
“I said at the time when the garda station was closed that this sort of anti-social behaviour was possible and sadly it looks like it’s coming true,” he said.
Along with Newtowncashel, two other stations including those in Ardagh and Ballinalee were closed as part of government cutbacks.
That prompted a large-scale public outcry as concerns grew about the redeployment of existing officers to stations up and down the county.
By the following month, those fears appeared to intensify when it emerged a garda previously assigned to Newtowncashel would transfer ten miles up the road to Lanesboro.
“As there is no garda station in Cashel anymore, these people can do what they like,” said an angry Cllr Casey.
“Think about it, the nearest station is Lanesboro. By the time any guards could get down there the people responsible for these acts would be gone. It’s vandalism of the highest order.”
Last week’s incident follows a similar episode last September when vandals destroyed two iconic wooden sculptures.
Much like the trademark ‘doughnuts’ which local residents woke up to on Thursday morning, it’s believed those responsible struck as dusk began to fall.
Kevin Casey, who lives a matters of metres away from Barley Harbour, said there was little anyone could do to combat the problem.
“What can you do about it? The minute the good weather comes, they (doughnuts) surface,” he said.
Mr Casey said the one saving grace was that the ground close to the harbour was relatively dry.
“This kind of thing is a regular occurence every summe,” Mr Casey explained.
“It’s just a pity to see it happen on a bank holiday weekend when people will be out and about.”