Thieves stole more than €4000 worth of batteries from the Inishowen Carnival Group premises in Malin over the weekend.
A spokesperson for the group told the ‘Journal’ they believe whoever stole the batteries “knew what they were looking for” and where to find them as nothing else in the shed was touched.
They said: “They’ve kicked the front door in and gone straight for the batteries, that’s what it looks like. They weren’t interested in the power tools that were sitting on the bench, they didn’t go near the office where there was €10 sitting on a chair.
“We are extremely glad that more damage wasn’t done but we reckon that’s only because they knew exactly what they came here for. That means that most likely it was someone who knows us, someone who has been in the building and seen the stock of batteries by the door and thought they’d make a few quid by bringing them to the scrapyard. In a scrapyard the 30 plus batteries that were taken can be traded in for between €300-€600. But for us to replace them will cost over €4000.”
The stock of batteries, which are used to power PAs for music and fans for inflatable props, has been built up over a number of years.
The group said they will be “impossible to replace straight away” due to the financial restrictions they are under.
Inishowen Carnival Group lost its main Arts Council funding in 2012 and have kept going due to the sterling work of their volunteers and the “sporadic support” of placement schemes such as TUS and Jobbridge. They receive limited funding from Donegal County Council and the rest of the funds come from taking part in events around the country, hiring out costumes and props for street parades and festivals.
They recently performed at four parades over St Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Armagh, Downpatrick and Omagh and the money they earned from that will go straight towards basic running costs.
Between rent, electricity bills, phone bills, accountancy fees, insurance and other basic essential overheads, the group needs to raise around €20,000 every year just to keep the organisation running.
A spokesperson said: “We used 30 batteries between the four main events this St Patrick’s Day. If we didn’t have the batteries we couldn’t do the events.
“If we can’t do the events we can’t pay the rent. It’s as simple as that.”
The group also acts as a free resource to a number of local projects during the year with many groups borrowing props, costumes and flags for local parades, school shows and charity events.
They said they still have a strong community ethos and like to support local projects, which is why it was “extremely disappointing” for “somebody local to target us in this way.”
The group hope they can build the stock of batteries back up but will also have to look at installing further security measures - another expense.
Batteries that were stolen include a number of red coloured 125Ah “Rolls” brand Deep Cycle Batteries, black coloured 85ah and 110 Ah “Hornet” brand batteries, green coloured 110Ah “Diamond” brand, black coloured 85Ah “Monbat” brand and black coloured 110Ah “Platinum” brand batteries. Many have Inishowen Carnival Group’s name written on them in permanent marker as well as silver gaffa tape stickers marking previous dates that they were charged although it’s likely these marks will have been removed.
If anyone has any information, they are urged to please contact Carndonagh Garda Station on 00353 74 937 4109