The goo, the bad and the ugly
A Bandon father has described having to leave the town’s playground with his toddler after finding a goo-like substance covering the swings and seesaw.
Thomas Lawton and his three year old son Ruairí arrived at the playground on Sunday morning to find the substance had been apparently painted deliberately onto the facilities.
Speaking to John Paul McNamara on C103's ‘Cork Today on Monday’, Mr Lawton said the issue of anti-social behaviour in the area has been getting worse and worse.
He said the playground has deteriorated significantly in recent years with broken glass, obscene graffiti and even discarded condoms becoming commonplace at the once beautiful amenity.
The Bandon native said it is also common to see teenagers “making out” at the playground and cursing loudly in front of small children.
“We’ve all been young people and we’ve all gathered, but I sense, and I don’t think I’m the only who feels this as I’ve spoken to other parents, that there’s a sense of menace there, that some of these teens are acting very aggressively towards people,” he said.
The only facility his son could use on Sunday morning was what Mr Lawton described as a “phallus-festooned” slide.
He said: “Aside from the trash and bits of glass, I found the swings and the seesaw were covered in some kind of goo. You could say it’s okay for me because I’m fortunate, I can get in my car and drive to the nicer playgrounds in Innishannon or Ballinspittle or elsewhere, but there are families and children in the town that have no options, no outdoor space or don’t have the ability to drive elsewhere and for them, it’s unusable.”
Mr Lawton said he believes there is no CCTV in place that would have caught the culprits and that there needs to be more police presence on the ground to deter such behaviour.
He said: “I really feels like there’s a lack of respect, a lack of responsibility, and a lack of retribution. I really feel that there is no follow up, that those who repeatedly and remorselessly deface and damage our public amenities are just not held accountable for their actions.”
Having lived and worked abroad for many years in “some really rough areas”, Mr Lawton said he has never seen anything as unsafe and unpleasant than in his home town.
“There is something in the fabric of the town and in the fabric of certain youth groups that is a problem I believe. I think law and order is a problem, I think we need to have much more visible and active policing. Call that old fashioned but I believe it’s core to strong society and safe community. We need to think about this as a community as well, how we tackle these issues,” said Mr Lawton.
He also pointed out that it is not just youths in the town that are guilty of anti-social behaviour and that adults are equally as guilty from his experience.