LOCAL club Johnville FC have been left reeling after waking up to the news on Wednesday morning that a section of their €50,000 state of the art AstroTurf facility at St. Martin’s Park has been damaged by a fire after vandals gained access to their grounds.
The St. John’s Park based club, who cater for academy children, youth, and adult teams, had pleaded in recent months to people that had caused recent damage to fencing, locks and netting, but instead have had to deal with this latest blow to their facilities.
In a statement, the club said that they were “outraged” and “angry” at the “vandalism and criminal damage” caused to their AstroTurf.
“We’ve no adequate words to describe our upset and anger at the vandalism and criminal damage that is being caused to our facilities.
“Our club has previously outlined that a group or groups of people have been forcibly breaking their way into our grounds, by breaking fencing, snapping locks and destroying netting in order to gain access to our pitches.
“Pleas to groups with unauthorised access to our grounds to please stay away has fallen on deaf ears and these unauthorised entries to the club’s facilities are continuing, with it now coming to a disgraceful new low.”
In posting images of the damage to their AstroTurf pitch, the club said that “they will struggle to sustain the football club if this level of vandalism continues”.
“A lot of time, effort, and a huge amount of money, in the region of €50,000, has gone into the project of relaying the surface on the Astro pitch over a year ago.
“It’s disgraceful to say that a group who have been entering our grounds without permission have now taken to setting fire to sections of our Astro pitch, causing huge amounts of damage, which would again come at a huge cost to the football club.
“This cost and those like it that continue to happen, make it near impossible for the committee to sustain the club, and develop the club in terms of implementing other projects, which are necessary to the future success and feasibility of Johnville FC, which in turn could be to the detriment of the long serving, community based football club.
“We as a club are taking this incident very seriously, and we are asking anybody with any information on groups entering our grounds between Monday and Tuesday evening to please contact the club in confidence.
“We are reiterating once again with everybody to stay away from the grounds unless there is authorised access to the facilities. Anybody found on the grounds of Johnville FC will be reported to the Gardai.”