Clean sweep: Joe Lyons and Tony Kennedy
MEMBERS of Castleconnell’s 28 strong community employment scheme aren’t going to let the criminals win.
On Thursday night, thieves stole gardening equipment used by workers to improve the appearance of the locality. The broke into a container in the Super Valu car-park and made off with three strimmers, three blowers and one hedge trimmer. The total estimated value is €3,500.
The criminals left brushes and shovels. Members were out first thing on Monday morning to continue sweeping the streets and picking up rubbish. However, the stolen equipment is vital for the community employment scheme to cut grass in graveyards, river park, Daly’s Cross, and other road edges in the environs. And as luck would have it grass growth is way ahead of normal for the time of year. Louise Madden, supervisor, said the robbery was “an attack on all of us”.
“It is very disappointing for the community because we have worked so hard and it has been our community who have helped us to fund all that equipment. We have been buying it bit by bit from donations and church gate collections. To see it gone overnight is disheartening.
“It is upsetting that a person or people don’t seem to value what we do,” said Louise, who has been overwhelmed by the amount of positive messages she has got from locals and businesses.
“When you see that reaction you can’t stay down for too long. You have to get up and show the good side. It is not going to stop those on the scheme. They are committed to the village and work very hard. They were all out with brushes and shovels on Monday morning,” said Louise.
She says the strimmers are a big loss because they use them to cut the grass in the local graveyards – All Saints and Stradbally.
“It is all strimmer work because they are old graveyards. That is where we are going to take the biggest hit immediately. We use the blowers for tidying up the path – we don’t leave grass on the path,” said Louise.
To start fundraising to buy replacements, a coffee morning takes place in the parish hall on Tuesday, March 5 from 10am to noon. Louise has also set up a Go Fund Me page called Castleconnell Community Employment Scheme. By this Wednesday afternoon €830 has been raised including an anonymous donation of €500. Anybody with any information on the theft is asked to contact Castleconnell gardai on 061 377105.