THE PRINCIPAL of a County Limerick school has caught youths red handed breaking windows.
Excellent CCTV footage of the culprits throwing stones at Doon CBS Primary School have been handed over to gardai, and an investigation is underway.
Br James Dormer is entering his 20th year as principal in Doon and the school has never been vandalised before.
Shortly before the school term started at the end of August Br Dormer said five windows and a fire door were broken by stones.
“The windows were only installed around 2007 and now we have to replace them again. It cost €1,000 to get new ones. It is only in the last few months, particularly August, that this trouble has started.
“The start of school is stressful enough without some fool causing damage and the hassle and financial cost of getting them repaired,” said Br Dormer, who is determined to put a stop to it immediately.
As well as passing the CCTV footage to gardai Br Dormer has also removed all the gravel on the school grounds.
“Because of this all the gravel within the vicinity of the school had to be taken away and concreted over before school started,” said Br Dormer. This cost around €3,000.
A Cork school made the headlines recently when it asked pupils to bring in their own toilet paper, towels and soap to class due to Government funding cuts.
Like all schools, Doon’s capitation grant has been cut by 3.5 per cent this year.
“It is just over €11,000. Between the windows and the concrete we’ve had to spend over a third of that already before the year starts as a result of vandalism.
“I don’t see why we should be wasting good state money on repairing windows because of this. How would the parents of these youths like the windows in their houses being broken?
“We get great backing, financially and otherwise, from parents and then you have this small little element who didn’t even go to school here causing all this damage,” said Br Dormer, who is the remaining Christian Brother teaching in any primary or secondary school in County Limerick.
It is understood that the vandals are not past pupils of the school or from Doon. It is believed they are from the city and may have relatives in North East Limerick.
The school may have to eat even more in to their capitation grant - spent on educational resources, heating, cleaning, insurance, telephone and general maintenance.
Br Dormer found that youths aged 13 to 15 were using the school shed for drinking parties during he summer holidays.
“I’m considering closing off the shed as well which would cost more. Like the vandalism this has only started recently. It’s a play shed and if children arrive early on a wet morning they can stand in there and the same after school. These youths, again not from Doon, were in there during the summer drinking,” said Br Dormer.
The Christian Brothers have been providing education in Doon since 1874. Br Dormer continues on that tradition 136 years later and says he won’t allow the school’s good name be tarnished.