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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020
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Gardaí had already been called to park where club changing rooms set on fire 'four or five times this year'

‘There’s been a lot of anti-social goings-on in that park and it’s not the safest park.’

Scene of the blaze
Scene of the blaze
Image: Facebook

THE CHANGING ROOMS of a Dublin football club were set on fire on Monday night in an alleged act of vandalism at a park where there has been ongoing reports of anti-social behaviour.

Beech Park FC was using two steel containers – one for equipment and another for changing rooms – to accommodate up to ten teams from junior and senior levels who trained weekly.

The Beech Park FC teams regularly train in Griffeen Valley Park in Lucan Co Dublin which also accomodates a separate leisure centre and kids playgrounds. 

On Monday night at around 10pm, the container used as a dressing room was “completely gutted” in a fire believed to have been started by vandals, according to Eamon O’Hara, chair of the club.

“People are shocked because if you look out your window at half 10 on a Monday night and all you see is flames coming out and a fire brigade, of course you would be,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of anti-social goings-on in that park and it’s not the safest park in South Dublin – we’ve had loads of incidents and called the guards four or five times this year.”

After waking up during the night to a message saying the club’s changing room, and what was originally thought to be the storage container too, had been set alight, O’Hara said he assumed that was the end of the football club altogether.

“I woke up and the first thing I opened was a photograph of the container burned and smoke coming out of it.

“And we just assumed that was us finished because if the one with the storage equipment had gone up we were in serious trouble.”

The fire did not catch on to the unit containing the equipment but badly damaged the changing rooms.

Support

As part of a transition year project in school, a number of young students had asked to paint the containers with a mural of the club’s colours and its name, which was also lost to the fire.

“It’s just ash and you’re looking at a steel container burnt to the ground and paint melted on it.

“Lads from TY asked could they paint over it and I said ‘leave it until July when the weather is warmer and don’t be putting yourself out in the cold’.

“But they insisted, so they painted it and it took three of them to do it and now it’s gutted – it was a mural and on the side you could see the name Beeches.”

Other rival local clubs have thrown their support behind Beech Park FC and a GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds – reaching over €500 so far.

“It’s been amazing, everyone’s being amazing and supporting us,” O’Hara said.

“We have a lot of support from rival clubs in the area and the chair of lucan united is offering their facilities and equipment to get us through.”

A Garda spokesperson confirmed they were investigating the cause of the fire.

“Gardaí are investigating a fire that occurred at Griffin Valley Park at approximately 10.30pm on monday 23 April,” they said. 

“A metal container was on fire and Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene and extinguished the fire. No persons were injured.”

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