Friday, June 14, 2024
SENSELESS DESTRUCTION AT CASTLEWELLAN FOREST PARK

SENSELESS DESTRUCTION AT CASTLEWELLAN FOREST PARK

A SOUTH Down MLA has said the local community is outraged at recent “vandalism and destruction” at Castlewellan Forest Park’s arboretum. Colin McGrath (SDLP) was speaking on what the PSNI called “significant damage” at the attraction, which it confirmed consisted of vandalism to 47 greenhouse panes and two ornamental pillars.

The MLA said that the level of damage perpetrated, believed to have occurred on Friday evening, was “disgraceful”. “It is mindless and should cause all of us outrage,” he stated.  “The forest park is something that belongs to everyone and is something that we can all be proud of.  “To see this level of wanton destruction meted out at the arboretum, though, is not something to take pride in, and has caused damage that will be long and costly to repair. “I don’t know who has carried out this destruction or where they are from, but these actions are to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.  “What has happened here is senseless and mindless, and has caused outrage right across the Castlewellan community.” Mr McGrath confirmed that he has “highlighted the matter with our local PSNI team, and asked that they would ensure that any and all assistance is given to the council to help address what has happened here”.

“I know there are many leaders in the community in Castlewellan who have been working hard to prevent this sort of activity in the past, and I have no doubt that they will redouble their efforts now to ensure this happens,” he concluded. “The work that went into bringing Castlewellan Forest Park into the council’s remit was a long and complex process.  “This latest incident will cause real hurt and anger, and it is just a shame that those who have carried out this destruction do not realise the impact of their actions.” The PSNI confirmed that they are “investigating after vandals caused significant damage within the walled garden in Castlewellan Forest Park”. “Forty-seven window panes in the Victorian Greenhouse were damaged along with two ornamental pillars,” a spokesperson said. “It’s believed the damage may have been caused on Friday evening, 23 June. “Officers are keen to hear from witnesses or anyone with information regarding this crime. “Please call 101, quoting reference 1937 23/06/23.” The council was contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of going to press.

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