Vandalised playground in Rathevan Portlaoise.
The playground in a large Laois housing estate has been vandalised, to the anger of residents.
The playground serves Rathevan and Rossdarragh housing estates in Portlaoise. Many children also come from the large Kilminchy housing estate next door which has no playground.
During the night of Tuesday May 21, part of the fencing around the playground was thrown up on a children's play tower. The rubber matting under the swings was pulled up and some of it also thrown on the piece of equipment.
One resident whose house faces the playground took photos of the damage and is angry.
"There has always been issues of vandalism and anti social behaviour around it, but I got up to see the playground destroyed by vandals," the woman said.
She believes that the damage happened late at night.
I live right across the road, I didn't pull my blinds until after 10.30pm," she said.
The woman has young children but the presence of teenagers in the playground gives her fear when allowing them to play there.
"I let them out after school to play there but no later because it's full of teenagers. I'd be afraid of what would be done to them never mind what would be said to them. If you go out and say anything to them you get abused. I did before but I learned my lesson," she said.
She believes that teenagers did the damage.
"This playground is used by everybody, families come from Kilminchy to use it. I have no problem with that but I have a huge issue with the teens. They seem to think they are above the law. The guards have been in there but they are only 14 or 15 so what can the guards do? I would like parents to be aware what their kids are doing," she said.
Some residents want the playground removed she said.
"Some neighbours want it taken out altogether. It is a great amenity for families, but I see their point. It would be much easier to live here if it wasn't there," the woman said.
Laois County Council closed off a walkway between Rathevan and Kilminchy and turned off lights on it some months ago, to try to end anti-social behaviour reported on it. A fence between the estates has been repeatedly broken open.
Cllr Noel Tuohy who requested the walkway be closed in a motion last December, said it was bringing "semi-adults" of ages 15 to 17 and "unwanted traffic" to the playground. Read that story here.
The woman has reported the matter to the Gardaí.
Below: damage to the swings in the playground at Rathevan housing estate in Portlaoise.