Vandals destroy new sports facility before opening

A series of sustained attacks on a new sports facility, before it has even opened its doors, have left it completely unusable Belfast City Council confirmed today.

Over the summer months, vandals caused an estimated £10,000-worth of damage to the brand new £200,000 pavilion at Woodlands Playing Fields in Finaghy, which was only completed at the beginning of July.

The Council is also having to spend up to £15,000 installing new security fencing in a bid to prevent further destruction.

Councillor Margaret Crooks, Chair of the Council’s Parks and Amenities Sub-Committee, today condemned what she described as “a premeditated and concentrated campaign of destruction”.

The attacks on the pavilion, which is owned by Belfast City Council and was to have been managed by St Agnes GAC on behalf of the South Antrim Board of the GAA, started almost as soon as building work was completed.

Belfast City Council has taken steps to secure the building, including welding steel plates across all the windows, but the facility will not be opened again until full repairs have been carried out and palisade-type security fencing installed around the perimeter.

Councillor Crooks said: “This was a wanton campaign carried out by hooligans intent on premeditated destruction – a campaign that has left this magnificent facility, so appreciated by the local sporting community, now totally unusable.

“Belfast City Council has finite resources for providing recreational and sports facilities for the enjoyment of the vast majority of the people of the City, and there are many demands placed upon these resources. It is almost inevitable that some of these demands now may not be met as we have to meet the cost of repairing this destruction.”


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

08 February 2019
Man Charged Over Ian Ogle's Murder
A 33-year-old man has been charged with the murder of east Belfast community worker Ian Ogle. The defendant, Jonathon Brown from Belfast, appeared at Belfast Magistrates' Court this morning, Friday 08 December. He is due to appear again next month.
01 February 2019
North Belfast Woman Injured As Masked Gang Burgle Home
A woman has been injured in an aggravated burglary in north Belfast. It was reported that four masked men entered her home in Chestnut Gardens off the Cliftonville Road at a round 7pm on Wednesday 30 January. The 39-year-old woman was injured on the right side of her face as her property was ransacked and a number of items were stolen.
13 February 2019
Man With 'Sharp Object' Linked To South Belfast Armed Robberies
Police are appealing for information after reports of two armed robberies in south Belfast. Both incidents took place on the evening of Tuesday 12 February. Shortly after 7.20pm police were contacted with reports of a man wearing a scarf around his face and armed with a sharp object who entered a shop in Botanic Avenue.
13 February 2019
No Police Wrongdoing In Belfast Hostel Incident- Ombudsman
A police officer accused of assaulting a man outside a hostel in Belfast has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Police Ombudsman's office. A complaint was lodged after an incident in May last year, when two officers attended the hostel in Belfast City Centre on an unrelated matter.
29 January 2019
Victim Seriously Injured After Belfast Attack
A man has been left with "shocking" injuries and needing eye surgery following a paramilitary-style attack in north Belfast. The victim, aged in his 20's, was assaulted by four men who drove him to a lay-by before continuing the attack early on Sunday evening, 27 January.