BY KIERAN O’MAHONY
CRUEL thieves struck a blow to the voluntary efforts of the people of Kilmeen and Castleventry last week when they stole 16 baskets of flowers that had adorned the four bridges in the area.
Locals woke up on Tuesday morning, June 30th, to discover that all the baskets were stolen and the metal fittings were thrown into the river: ‘It was a wet and foggy Monday night when this happened and we were shocked to discover that all 16 flower baskets were taken as well as some flower boxes in a private house in the village.
‘We had only put them up the previous Tuesday and everyone thought they looked beautiful,’ said Dan O’ Leary, PRO of Kilmeen and Castleventry Community Development Association, speaking to The Southern Star.
‘The thieves had to unlock 32 nuts to release the baskets and they must have had spanners with them and it must have taken them to time to remove them all. It was done very clinically and there wasn’t a flower left behind.’
The baskets had been bolted on to the specially-crafted metal frames which were made locally by Aidan O’Regan and, in each case, the metal fittings were thrown into the nearby rivers.
‘It’s just distressing to see the wonderful voluntary work being done by the association destroyed overnight.
The whole place was looking beautiful and we only reformed the Community Development Association last year and we actually cleaned up the four bridges in the area too.
‘The cost of funding the flower baskets came from the proceeds of local fundraising and we also got a grant from Cork County Council.’
Dan said that locals in the area were very disappointed with what happened and that the act was being ‘interpreted locally as a calculated insult to the local Community Development Association, whose members generously give of their time and expertise to enhance the local environment.’
Gardaí in Dunmanway are currently investigating the thefts and are appealing to anyone with information to contact them on 023-8845202.