Youths and local political representatives have expressed anger at the recent vandalism of their MUGA pitch in Portadown which has been closed.
Damage was caused to the pitch in Killicomaine over the weekend of Saturday, August 18, but the culprits are unknown.
Councillors Margaret Tinsley and Darryn Causby have hit out at those responsible for the vandalism which has now deprived the young people in the area of a recreational space.
Councillor Tinsley said “I was shocked to hear that sometime last week someone had taken it upon themselves to tamper with the playing surface leaving it unsafe to use.
“The young people in this area use this facility regularly and it has been a great addition to the area following its installation in 2012.
“At this stage we do not know who was responsible for this damage but after speaking with community reps and young people in the area we know that the local young people who use the MUGA are very angry and frustrated they cannot use the space due to the vandalism.
“It is not acceptable that due to the actions of a very tiny minority our young people and community suffers the loss of a much needed space.”
Councillor Darryn Causby said: “Back in 2011 I was involved in discussion with local young people in Killicomaine regarding the provision of a MUGA and I was very pleased to have worked to secure the additional resources required to ensure we could provide the facility.
“Since then it has been well used by the whole community and it is shameful that it has been vandalised. The community and youth groups in the area have worked tirelessly to bring resources and facilities to the area and these acts of criminality serve to undermine those efforts. I want to thank those working in the area for the effort and commitment they have shown over the years to Killicomaine, without them the community would be worse off.”
Continuing Cllr Causby said: “Margaret and I have been working with those in the community and with the council to ensure this damage is fixed as quickly as possible so the young people can get back to enjoying the facility very soon.”
Keith McCann, Chairman of Killicomaine Residents Group, added: “We are disappointed in the damage resulting in the MUGA closure, a facility used daily by local young people.”
A spokesperson for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: “A large section of the synthetic playing surface at the MUGA in Killicomaine has been vandalised and ripped from the ground. This has caused a trip hazard and so we have reluctantly had to close it until repairs can be carried out.
“The repairs are undertaken by a specialist contractor and we are awaiting an estimate on cost and time to repair. The site will remain closed until further notice for safety reasons and to protect the integrity of the remaining playing surface.”