FIANNA Fail TD Willie O’Dea wants the city council to allow legal graffiti walls for youngsters to use.
In a bid to tackle the scourge of graffiti which has destroyed road signs, shop fronts and backs in Limerick and its surrounds, Mr O’Dea wants the council to select a number of walls away from the main thoroughfares for graffiti.
While the council has plans for a dedicated graffiti street, following pressure from members, Mr O’Dea wants several areas for artists to avoid a ghetto experience.
He wants them to be selected as areas specifically for graffiti and for prizes to be given to the youngsters showing the most promise.
The Deputy’s idea follows similar schemes in other cities across the world, which have by and large led to a crackdown on illegal graffiti.
If, after this, any youth still wants to daub shop-fronts, walls and signs with graffiti, “they should be dealt with with the utmost severity,” Mr O’Dea said.
When a tourist visits Limerick, Mr O’Dea feels that the immediate sight of graffiti lowers their perception of the area.
“Some of the stuff I see on the walls is artistic, but it is in the wrong place. For anybody going into a town, city or village, if they see graffiti, it immediately lowers their perception,” he said.
He stressed that he did not want to see legal graffiti walls set up in residential areas - like Wolfe Tone Street where the walls have been daubed in tags.
“There are plenty of derelict sites in Limerick well away from housing. I am not suggesting taking a wall in a middle of a built up area,” he said, “But the information available to me is that it would work extremely well.”
Mr O’Dea confirmed he would speak with the environment department on the issue. Gardai arrested a number of men in their early 20s for criminal damage following graffiti attacks. It was warned this can lead to 12 months imprisonment.