A public toilet in Ballincollig Regional Park was set on fire last night in what Fianna Fáil Councillor Colm Kelleher described as an occurrence that is “far too common for comfort”.
The Cork City South-West Councillor said that although this is the first time the toilet in the park has been set alight, that the benches which are made out of recycled plastic are often targeted.
He said that the benches are “constantly being burnt to cinders” and have to be replaced by City Council.
Cllr Kelleher has contacted An Garda Síochána and officials in City Hall and is calling for CCTV cameras to be installed in the car park and around the benches and toilet facilities, saying that damage to the park is “becoming far too common for comfort”.
The playground in Innishmore has also been the subject of criminal damage in the past where benches and swing sets have been set alight.
Cllr Kelleher said that he does not know who the perpetrators are but that they have access into the park “from three pinch points by night even though the gates are locked”.
“They can jump over the gates, they can come in by the Regional Park car park entrance and they can come in through the GAA entrance and they now have access by Fionn Laoi with the new walkway so they can literally strike and disappear into the forestry then,” he said.
Cllr Kelleher also has a motion in City Council as regards getting “proper toilet facilities closer to the car park”.
“It’s the only toilet inside in the Regional Park, you have to walk deep into the park. It’s badly positioned from a point of view of the car park because there’s no toilet facilities close to the car park,” he said.
Fine Gael Councillor Derry Canty who was heavily involved in the installation of the toilet in the Regional Park said that the toilet facility could not be put in the main car park due to the fact that it is under the water level.
“We had the sewerage from the Innishmore connection and Scoil Barra and at the time when we got an estimate for it, it was gone over nearly €1 million to have a toilet in the car park because we’d have to have a a pumping station and a holding tank to pump it up to Westcourt Heights,” he said.
The toilet where it is positioned now was “part and parcel” of the overall work that was done to the Regional Park.
“I know it is a little bit far from the main entrance of the Regional Park but it was the best place we could put it, we thought it was safer up there but now it doesn’t seem as if that’s working either,” he said.
Cllr Canty who is involved in Ballincollig’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme warned against anti-social behaviour in the area and said he will be in contact with gardaí “to know what we can do or where we can go from here”.