“There’s huge anger and frustration locally because a tiny minority of people destroyed the park without any consideration or regard for anyone who uses it. People are right to be angry,”
The blaze broke out at Weaver Park, off Cork Street, shortly before 6.30pm on Sunday. No injuries were reported but the playground sustained significant damage.
Dublin Fire Brigade responded and quickly extinguished the blaze. The fire service is asking the public to report any suspicious activity in future in a bid to avert such criminal damage.
A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesperson tweeted: “One fire engine from Dolphin’s Barn fire station responded and quickly extinguished the fire. We're asking members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour to gardaí.”
Labour councillor Darragh Moriarty was saddened to see the destruction of the park and he promised to do all he can to “assess and repair” it.
“When things like this happen, people talk about what communities deserve amenities and what ones don’t,” he said.
“We’ve seen people say, ‘this is why we shouldn’t put parks in the Liberties’. I think that’s the totally wrong approach to take. The one pc who do this shouldn’t tarnish the whole community.
“Ninety-nine pc of people who use the park do so in a proper way. It was a hard fought community resource that we got over the line in the past five years.
“There’s huge anger and frustration locally because a tiny minority of people destroyed the park without any consideration or regard for anyone who uses it. People are right to be angry,” he added.
“My concern is getting it fixed and back in operation for the community as soon as possible because the minority of idiots who do things like this can’t win.
“I think the community who use it in a proper way should have their park restored.”
The park, which officially opened in September 2017, features a playground, a skate park, and green open areas for multi-functional use.
It is part of Dublin City Council’s Greening Strategy for the Liberties, as it has a significantly lower percentage of green spaces per person compared to other areas of Dublin.
“The Liberties area suffers from a huge deficiency in green space. The Liberties Greening Strategy was commissioned a couple of years ago and looked at how the Liberties was lacking in green space, parks, and recreational facilities,” Darragh said.
“There’s a mix of people who use the park, those living in houses and apartments. It’s a safe haven for so many in terms of a place to play. It caters for different ages, there’s different elements there.
“It's always packed, there’s always a lot of activities. People are angry and I think it needs to be assessed and repaired as soon as possible.”
Senator Mary Seery Kearney also said the community must stand strong against those who vandalised the facilities.
The Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Children said: “It is heart-breaking to see deliberate destruction of a play space that is so cherished by the local community. This is not the first playground to be targeted by vandalism and arson.
“We must tackle head-on this small cohort who are content to undermine the quality of life of a whole community. We must stand strong against these vandals and show them this kind of act will not be tolerated.
“We now need to see a concerted urgent response from Dublin City Council and An Garda Síochána that provides intense policing to restore safety and security to this lovely community.”