Cookies on Dublin People website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Dublin People website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • Northside West

Locals back targeted club

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019 8:00am

Story by Jack Gleeson
Locals back targeted club

Some of the large group that attended the Easter fun day at the allotments to show support for the Meeting Place Club. Photo: Darren Kinsella.

Locals back targeted club

Some of the large group that attended the Easter fun day at the allotments to show support for the Meeting Place Club. Photo: Darren Kinsella.

View More Images

LOCAL youths who threw stones at and abused kids with disabilities at allotments in Finglas have been invited to get involved with the club they targeted.

Up to 10 youths gathered on a wall at the allotments behind Fairlawn estate before Easter and hurled stones, rocks and other objects at the kids from the Meeting Place Club.

The club, which works mostly with children on the autism spectrum and is affiliated with Arch Federation Ireland, had been at the allotments for horticulture therapy and creative art when the incident happened.

Sadly, it’s not the first time the club has suffered anti-social behaviour. A sensory garden was destroyed last September and a shed used for storage and art was broken into and suffered fire damage more recently.

However, the throw-stoning incident was a tipping point that caused outrage after it was featured on RTE’s Liveline radio show.

“We were rained on by stones, bottles and bricks and abuse, and some of the abuse was very, very hurtful,” said Meeting Place Club volunteer, Sandra Dillon.

“To see the vile attitude towards us was very hurtful. Some were as young as 10 and 11.”

But despite the attack, Sandra says that the Meeting Place Club wants the youths involved to get involved with the club’s projects.

We don’t want anybody punished. We just want it stopped,” she told Northside People.

“We would love for those involved to be brought in and to volunteer. I know there are good guys there. 

“Some of the teenagers who have come to us would have been sent to us because of the problems that they were causing in their community.

“We’ve seen their self esteem and self worth being raised. They get a purpose. Their purpose was they wanted to help others because they knew how hard it was for them, and they start to get an understanding of themselves. 

“We’re not going to throw a stone back at them and we want other people to be aware of that as well.”

Sandra admitted the club volunteers were devastated by the attack but overwhelming support from the Finglas community has made them determined to continue their work.

“The community has kept us going,” she said. “You do get to a stage where you ask yourself is it all worth it but the amount of people who rallied around has been fantastic.”

The club considered cancelling an event at the allotments planned for the Easter weekend but volunteers were urged to go ahead as planned.

“We were going to cancel the event on health and safety grounds but local people insisted we go ahead and said they were going to support us,” said Sandra.

“We have been approached by one of the parents and she is devastated to think that her son would cause any kind of attack.

“I think it’s a pack mentality. I think when you put too many people together and you show them something, they think they’re not part of it so they want to destroy it. 

“But we want to say that we know what that’s like, we know what it’s like to be marginalised, we know what it’s like to feel victimised so we welcome everybody and we want people to come and volunteer.”

Local residents say a derelict house close to the allotments has become a focal point for anti-social behaviour, with teenagers from outside the area gathering there and influencing local youths.

Jody Fox, Morgan Lambert, James Lambert, Darren Quinn and Rachel Starrs. Heidi (8) and Jayce (1) Cooney enjoying the fun day. Sandra Dillon with Cillian Kenny at the allotments.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here