MEMBERS of a Cork pigeon racing club have been left “disgusted” and “disappointed” after one of their storage containers was destroyed by a fire on Bonfire Night.
The container, belonging to Cork Harbour View Pigeon Club based on John F Connolly Road in Churchfield, has been left in ruins following the fire which occurred late on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
Included in the storage container were baskets used by pigeon fanciers for transport purposes, all of which have been destroyed.
“We’re devastated to lose our baskets – the loss of those could hamper the rest of the season because we’re literally in the middle of the racing season now," club secretary Charles Foley told The Echo.
“Then there’s the cost of getting rid of the existing container and trying to get another one in place of it.
“We don’t have the funds for that. We’re going to have to try sort something,” Mr Foley said.
“Hopefully we might be able to get some support from local councillors or local businesses.
Sinn Féin councillor Kenneth Collins condemned the incident.
"This type of behaviour is totally unacceptable.
"The club members are very upset and angered by this recent event.
"Someone could have been hurt and even worse, trapped inside the container," he said.
His party colleague Mick Nugent called for an end to such acts of vandalism.
"Unfortunately, this vandalism follows a trend in recent years of incidents at a number of sporting clubs in the North West of the city, these are attacks on community facilities and should stop," he said.
The container is one of two owned by the club, the second of which they use as a clubhouse.
Fellow club member Willie Long said seating from the second container was taken out and burned.
“Our seating which was inside in the other container – that container was broken into and the seating was burnt and they also burned part of a pigeon computer clock that we would use to race pigeons.”
Mr Long was alerted to the fire by a friend of his early on Thursday, who spotted the flames from the nearby St Vincent's Hurling and Football Club.
“It was a friend of mine from St Vincent’s club who phoned me on Thursday morning at around 9am and he said one of your pigeon containers seems to be on fire,” Mr Long said.
Mr Long said the club, which was formed around 16 years ago, has a diverse range of members.
“Our youngest member is seven years old. He joined this year with his mum.
“We couldn’t let him see it the way it [the container] was because he would be heartbroken.”
Mr Long moved to thank the Gardaí and Cork City Fire Service for their swift response following the incident.
A Garda spokesperson confirmed that investigations into the incident are ongoing.
“Gardaí are investigating an incident of criminal damage and theft from a sports club in the Churchfield area of Cork on 23rd June 2021.
“A container on the premises was burnt out and a number of items appeared to have been stolen. No injuries reported. Investigation is ongoing.”