Inspections after vandalism leads to MUGA closure

Councillor Sandra Duffy with local community worker Cathal McCauley looking at the damaged caused
Councillor Sandra Duffy with local community worker Cathal McCauley looking at the damaged caused

An inspection was being organised yesterday to assess damage caused by an arson attack on the Multiuse Games Area (MUGA) in Shantallow.

The facility has now had to be shut down after vandals set fire to the 2G facility in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cathal McCauley, manager of Shantallow Community Centre and Shantallow Resident’s Association, was yesterday contacting the local council to look into assessing the damage and repairs.

He said its closure would impact on the hundreds who use the facility every day, including young people and local football teams and schools.

Mr. McCauley said: “In the 10 years since the MUGA was introduced, there has never been any damage or any vandalism done to it. This is a free facility for young people and every night of the week it is left open as a play area for them. The place, hail, rain or snow, is bunged with young people. We have now had to close it while we assess the damage and look at repairs.”

Sinn Fein Councillor Sandra Duffy said a gang of youths set fire to tyres and rolled them onto the pitch.

“This is a disgraceful attack and must be condemned,” she said, adding: “Community facilities in this district have been hard fought for over many years.

“We cannot allow a handful to undermine or detract from the excellent youth work that goes on in this area. If anyone has information relating to who was responsible for this, they should contact the relevant authorities.”