Scrap metal thieves rob GAA clubhouse and cause €8,000 worth of damage


SCRAP METAL thieves have been accused of sinking to a new low after a GAA clubhouse was plundered of all its copper pipes and water tanks.

As a result, the club has warned other GAA clubs to be extra vigilant in case they too are targeted.

Meanwhile, gardaí have confirmed they are liaising with the PSNI in an effort to tackle the crime, as the metal can be taken across the Border to be sold.

In this latest development, it appears men broke into the clubhouse and carefully took out all the copper pipes as well as eight water tanks in the attics.

This resulted in water spilling into the changing rooms and showers of the clubhouse of Hunterstown Rovers, near Ardee, Co Louth.

“This has been a disaster for the club and it is a new low. I fear this is the start of a spate of a new sort of crime against GAA clubs,” said Patsy Lynch, honorary president of Hunterstown Rovers. The gang also took the large immersion heater. In all, some €8,000 worth of damage was caused.

“All the work that went into providing this clubhouse as a facility for the members and the community was destroyed,” said committee member Seán McDonnell.

“I am shocked and horrified and there is a lot of anger in the local community about this. Scrap metal is so expensive now and that is why we believe this damage was done.

“Let this be a warning to other clubs to keep a sharp eye out for any suspicious vans or cars and report it to the gardaí,” he said.

Earlier this year, Louth County Council had to bear the cost of replacing metal slides that were stolen from a children’s playground in Dundalk – again the motive appeared to have been the price criminals can secure for the metal.

A Garda spokesman confirmed yesterday that “this is an ongoing problem and it is down to the price available for scrap metal. Those dealing with scrap metal should be conscious of where it is coming from and if it is from a genuine source.”

Proximity to the Border was also a factor, with thieves often bringing stolen goods to the North to sell, he said. “We are liaising with the PSNI and they are aware of this criminal activity also.”