Over €3 million was spent on Dundalk’s new Market Square, and it has been rightly greeted as a major success - but there are fears that the Square’s image is under threat from a wave of petty crime and vandalism.
Over the course of the year, many businesses around the Square feel they have been victims of a sustained campaign of vandalism, and the number of break-ins have left local business owners frustrated.
Two weeks ago a car completed ‘donuts’ on the fountain; a week before that a glass encased sculpture was smashed; while weeks before that Panama Coffee’s windows were smashed and items stolen, in the second such attack in the space of a month. Just last week the window of the Talk-to-me Vodafone outlet was smashed in an apparent random attack.
Owner of Talk-to-Me, Hugh McEvoy, said: “Last Saturday evening past, on October 5, between the hours of 6.30pm and 7.45pm someone smashed one of the plate glass windows in my store on Market Square. This window is approximately 2.5 meters high by 2 meters wide and toughened glass
“Another window was pelted with large rocks about three weeks ago and fortunately didn’t break but was badly marked and back in January some thug lifted a part of a road barrier which had been sitting on the street due to zebra crossing roadworks and proceeded to launch it through the store window.
“He then entered the store and went inside and lay behind the counter. This was at 3am on a Sunday morning.
“The guards spotted this guy on their CCTV and arrested him but to date I’ve heard nothing about the incident,
“The public telephone box adjacent to my store is trashed every weekend with glass left lying on the street for days or until we ring the road cleaners,
“These are only my stories and I believe a lot of other businesses in the Market Square are also being affected by the increase in vandalism throughout the town.
“My office is situated in another street in Dundalk and it is constantly being targeted by vandals.
“Graffiti seems to be on the increase and there is just a general disregard for other people’s property.
“In my opinion substantial amounts of tax payers money was spent on ludicrous developments in Dundalk town in the past two years and not enough money put into the security and safety of the general public and their belongings and property.
“I blame the town council and no one else for this terrible situation which seems to have got out of hand, the buck stops with the top brass in the town council and they should be made accountable for their bad management.”
Dundalk Town Council did not reply to a query regarding the Square before going to print.