Vandalism rampant 'amongst certain syndicate' says Mullaghmeen man
Mullaghmeen Forest Park is the latest local amenity area to be targeted by vandals.
A shed and a number of park benches were destroyed at the north Westmeath attraction late on Wednesday night/Thursday morning of last week. It is believed that the perpetrator reversed a vehicle into the shed and benches, leaving them beyond repair.
Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner Martin Smyth of Mullaghmeen Country Enterprises, which has managed and developed the popular attraction for almost two decades, says that there is widespread anger in the Castlepollard area. It is estimated that 47,000 people visited the forest last year.
“I must have received 50 or 60 calls from people who use the forest regularly. They are very annoyed. It was just absolutely wrecked, it would make you wonder what people have in their minds to do this kind of thing. It seems to be rampant in a certain syndicate of people.”
Mr Smyth added that Mullaghmeen Country Enterprises will “have to go back to the drawing board” and review security at the forest.
“We have to sit down and have a look again. There is a barrier at the road but we don’t like to deprive people who visit the forest in the early morning or late evening. There could be 10 or 12 people here before they go to work.”
The act of vandalism has also been condemned by Cllr Una D’Arcy.
“Mullaghmeen Forest park is the largest planted beech forest in Europe and its looped walks, offering glimpses of the Cavan, Meath and Westmeath countryside, are popular with families, runners and tourists.
“It is disgusting that vandals destroyed the peace and beauty of this area of Mullaghmeen. Why on earth would anyone want to destroy a public space that is there to benefit everyone. It is so mindless,” said the Sinn Féin woman.
Anyone with information on the act of vandalism is asked to contact Castlepollard gardaí on 0449661112.