THE OWNER of a popular student bar in the city believes he is being subjected to repeated acts of criminal damage in a vindictive attempt to close down his business.
In the past two months, 21 windows have been smashed by a hooded vandal, causing over €16,000 worth of damage to Molly Malone’s bar on Ellen Street. Proprietor Greg Meaney told the Limerick Leader that he is at a loss to understand why someone is targeting his business in a financially difficult time for the pub trade, and urged the “cowardly” culprit to come forward and relay any grievances to him.
“We we’ve never had an incident of vandalism in our 13 years here,” Mr Meaney said.
“If anyone has a grievance with the bar they can talk to me. I don’t know who he is or why he’s doing it, but I’d like justice. Something like this could put you out of business if it happened another couple of times, and it’s not something that can be sustained.
“It’s my livelihood and my business, and at first I thought it was just an isolated incident, but it’s hard to carry this extra cost when you’re paying all the rates and taxes,” he said.
He explained that the first incident occurred at around 8.45pm on Saturday, November 9, when eight windows were smashed. The bar had only opened at 8pm, and the “shocked” barman was alerted just as the culprit made his escape.
On Sunday, November 29, at 4.55pm, after the double glazed windows had been replaced at considerable expense, 13 windows were again smashed.
The initial set cost €6,000 to replace, and the latest damage is estimated to cost €10,000, including installation costs.
CCTV footage from the bar and nearby areas has been seized and it being examined by gardai attached to Henry Street garda station, who confirmed that the case is under investigation.
Forensic samples have also been taken by experts in an attempt to establish the culprit.
The man was wearing a hooded top at the time, and it’s believed the implement used was a small pressure hammer.
In its heyday, he said Molly’s formerly opened at 11am, but due to economic circumstances and the closure of many businesses nearby they now open at 8pm.
The incidents were not observed by any security staff, as they began duty later on that night. The owner is now contemplating whether to install wooden or steel shutters to prevent the windows from being damaged in the future. On the first occasion, the glass was shattered through and boarded up, but it has now been covered with protective sheeting.