SHOPFRONTS across the city were targeted by graffiti vandals this week, with a leading businessman describing the damage as the “worst epidemic” he has seen.
Former Limerick Chamber president Pat Kearney has said the city is being “destroyed” by graffiti - and called on anyone who works overnight to make an immediate report to the gardai if they see spray painting taking place.
There was also damage to road signs on the entrances to the city, in particular at the Coonagh and Clonmacken roundabouts.
And looking at the design of the graffiti, it appears that it is just one person doing the damage.
Pat Kearney, of Rooney’s Auctioneers arrived into work this Wednesday to find the back garage door in the Post Office Lane covered in red and white spray paint.
Since he did not leave work until after 11.30pm on Tuesday night, he is adamant someone targeted the building in the small hours.
“When I left, my back garage door was in pristine condition. We always keep it washed and clean. But when I came in this morning, it was covered,” he confirmed.
Each time the premises is targeted, Rooney’s Auctioneers has to pay for a new coat of paint.
“I am disappointed and disgusted. This has happened so many times, and we have to employ a painter to come in and paint the door again and again and again. It makes the city look so tatty and run down when everybody is doing their utmost to improve the city,” Mr Kearney added.
Graffiti artists appear to be targeting the front shutters of shops by night, Mr Kearney added, with William Street a particular problem.
Another business which saw damage on Tuesday night was Healy and Partners Architects, based in Glentworth Street.
When the firm’s managing director Michael Healy arrived into work on Wednesday, he was shocked to find a newly painted granite wall daubed with graffiti.
Throughout the day, he has been trying to decode the meaning of the work.
“As architects we are trying to see if there was a message there. What does it depict? What does it say? We would like to know this. Is somebody giving a message? Why did they do it?” he asked.
Mr Healy is upset because the wall had just been painted the previous Friday - going so far as to suggest this was the attraction to the vandal.
“I like art, just not on our wall, particularly when my son just painted it for us last Friday. Like everything, there is a place for art: just not on the side of someone’s building,” he added.
Mr Kearney blamed the graffiti on “boredom” - and urged the vandal to instead use his or her talents to paint an elderly person’s house.
“I cannot figure out, when we have a city centre with so many CCTV cameras, that this perpetrator cannot be caught,. There needs to be a willingness on the part of everyone involved in cleaning up the city centre - and I mean shopkeepers, gardai, late night taxi drivers and those on the street at night - to look out and report and perpetrator to the guards,” Mr Kearney added.
Southside Fine Gael councillor Maria Byrne has been in discussions with the gardai, and City Council’s environment department after walls in Wolfe Tone Street, St Joseph‘s Street and Barrack Hill were vandalised.
Cllr Byrne urged anyone who sees anything to contact the Gardai at 061-212400,.
The council might use mobile cameras to catch the perpetrators, she added.