Repeated damage to the grounds of St Senans Rugby Football Club (RFC) in Shannon over the past week has left a “massive bill”.
On Wednesday last, a firearm was released in the vicinity of the club’s grounds. While that incident caused no damage to any property or injured no persons, the rugby club has experienced repeated instances of property damage, incidents which have been reported to Shannon Garda Station.
Public relations officer of St Senans RFC, Robbie Hoban explained, “We’ve had two large holes cut in our fences, we’ve had the locks broken with angle grinders three nights in a row as well as the chains we use to secure the gates. We kept replacing them but every night they were being broken so we just gave up. The locking mechanism that sticks to the gate was cut off with an angle grinder. The cost of replacing fencing is massive, we will have to replace a whole section of it. We have no fundraising going on at the minute because of COVID so these things are just a killer for us”.
No quotation has been carried out as of yet but the damage to the fencing is said to be considerable, work to the fencing in recent redevelopment of the club was “one of the most expensive parts”.
“All this money has to be raised and people have to give this money to the club because we are an amateur organisation. We have good sponsors but again that sponsorship money is always earmarked for jerseys, flags, upkeep of the field, payment of ESB and gas bills, to have to pay for something that shouldn’t have even happened is like someone robbing your house, we don’t have insurance for that kind of thing because it’s not something you insure against, when you’re involved with a club you’re trying to get the best insurance deal to keep the costs as low as you can,” Hoban stated.
Weekly meetings of the club committee are being held on Zoom. “Everyone gives up their own free time to do this and nobody gets anything out of it only for the love of the club like any sport. Fundraising in a normal time is hard enough because all clubs are hitting the same people. To have these unnecessary costs at the moment is really demoralising”.
As a result of the damage, the access to the public to Jimmy Slattery Park poses an insurance risk, no persons would be insured when the grounds are locked but the compromising position has left the club “in limbo”. Robbie added, “At the moment our gates are open, our fences are open, there was someone witnessed going to the toilet in the middle of our field on Monday, that stuff isn’t on”.
He acknowledged that the Gardaí had their hands tied in what they could do but was adamant responsibility needed to be taken for recent events.
An online fundraiser has since been set up by the club.