Van­dals tar­get the for­mer con­vent hall in Ca­her­siveen

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - NEWS - By SINEAD KELLE­HER

MORE than 15 win­dows were bro­ken in the old con­vent hall in Ca­her­siveen on St Stephen’s night and thou­sands of Eu­ros worth of dam­age was caused by van­dals, who it is be­lieved went on a drink­ing binge in the old build­ing, which is cur­rently be­ing used as a stor­age fa­cil­ity by local man, John Quirke.

Mr Quirke was alerted to the in­ci­dent the morn­ing af­ter by his son, John, and couldn’t be­lieve the dam­age caused when he went to the scene. Two youths were in the build­ing at the time, and it is un­der­stood that they were taken to Kil­lar­ney Garda Sta­tion for ques­tion­ing in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent. They were from out­side the Ca­her­siveen area, it is un­der­stood.

“It was in an aw­ful bad state. They caused thou­sands in dam­age. The win­dows alone are worth thou­sands. I couldn’t be­lieve the de­struc­tion caused,” Mr Quirke said.

This is the sec­ond time that the old con­vent hall, once a so­cial hub of the town, has been dam­aged by van­dals. The last in­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber also in­volved dam­age to the con­tents of the build­ing but the St Stephen’s night in­ci­dent was much more se­ri­ous.

This in­ci­dent, Mr Quirke be­lieves, is re­lated to anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the town, and he called for more garda ac­tion to counter such in­ci­dents.

Shock­ingly, more crim­i­nal dam­age oc­curred on De­cem­ber 27, the night af­ter Mr Quirke boarded up the bro­ken win­dows. Van­dals re­turned that night and spray-painted the build­ing. In a sin­is­ter move, they put masks on some of the win­dows.

Dur­ing the Oc­to­ber in­ci­dent, fur­ni­ture was set alight, and dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod se­ri­ous dam­age was also caused to fur­ni­ture in­side the build­ing.

Mr Quirke, who is a well-known builder, uses the old con­vent house for stor­age for fur­ni­ture and other build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

“It is fright­en­ing what is go­ing on,” said Mr Quirke.

Cllr Norma Mo­ri­arty has spo­ken to gar­daí in re­la­tion to the in­ci­dent and she be­lieves that a com­mu­nity alert is needed. A meet­ing is to take place tonight, Wed­nes­day, in re­la­tion to plans for a com­mu­nity alert.

Gar­daí in Ca­her­siveen have con­firmed that they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing all in­ci­dents and that ar­rests have been made. They are await­ing foren­sic re­sults for the Oc­to­ber in­ci­dent.

LEFT: Some of the dam­age caused by van­dals at the old con­vent hall in Ca­her­siveen.

Pho­tos by Christy Rior­dan

BE­LOW: A mask and spray paint left by van­dals over the Christ­mas pe­riod.

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