A Dublin rugby club's pitch has been left 'unusable' after vandals drove a car onto the grounds and set it on fire.
Tallaght Rugby Club says it's just the latest in the series of vandalism incidents over the past year or so.
Emma-Louise Doyle, public relations officer for Tallaght Rugby Club, told Lunchtime Live they were alerted to the latest incident last weekend.
She said: "We were sent pictures from a member of the public that our pitches up at Tymon Park in Tallaght were unfortunately damaged as a result of vandalism.
“A car was driven onto the pitches, crashed into our posts, and set alight.
"It caused significant damage to the pitch itself. At the moment, it isn’t usable for us.”
The ground now has to be resurfaced, and an investigation is underway into what happened.
The club currently operates from council-owned pitches - the one in Tymon Park, and another in Firhouse.
Emma-Louise said both sites have been vandalised in recent months.
She explained: “Recently, our volunteers and members went down to the [Firhouse] pitch to clean it up ahead of the training with youths [resuming].
"They cleared up all the rubbish… and set it out for the council to clear up. Unfortunately, someone took it upon themselves to bring the wheelie bin back over to our containers and set it alight.
“It’s very frustrating. In February, a scrambler managed to access the pitch in Tyman and tear it apart. During the previous lockdown… our containers in Firhouse were vandalised.”
While tournaments are still restricted due to COVID-19 restrictions, the recent damage means the club wouldn't be ready to host matches if Irish Rugby gave matches the green light again.
The club has now set up a fundraising campaign, with the goal of finding their own permanent home grounds.
Emma-Louise told Andrea the goal is to get the club "on the property ladder" - building their own grounds, with secure containers and dedicated changing facilities.
She said: “The dream is a clubhouse, but we just want to start off and get our own grounds that are secure and available for us to use at any time.”
Local Sinn Féin councillor Dermot Richardson said such "disgraceful" vandalism is disheartening for everyone in the community.
He said the rugby club has been doing "phenomenal work" in the area.
He said the local council has committed to repairing the damage caused, and that work should be completed in a "matter of weeks".
However, Councillor Richardson said the issue of anti-social behaviour is a major one across Tallaght and Clondalkin.
He said: “Parks in Tallaght have become a no-go area… in one park alone, there have been over 80 cars burnt.
“Securing the parks is not the way the council wants to go… they want to have the parks open up to the community. If they lock the parks, kids will still get in."
The Sinn Féin councillor said the area needs more gardaí on the streets to stop such behaviour.
He suggested more sanctions are needed, but education programmes through schools are needed.
He added: "Bring them [out] and let them see the damage that's done: it's regular... too regular for my liking."