Call for patrols at Merlin Woods

Vandals struck in Merlin Woods last weekend, damaging a new information board, which consists of a large map and a poster outlining the wealth of wildlife that can be found in the popular woodland.

According to a spokesperson from the Friends of Merlin Woods Group, the sign, which was unveiled in the woods just last December, was “kicked in” by vandals.

Further anti-social behaviour occurred on Sunday when a “group of young lads” attacked people collecting litter in the woods. The gang, aged between 12 and 16 started to throw stones at the voluntary rubbish pickers.

These “young lads” are “only kids” according to the Friends of Merlin Woods spokesperson, but this is not the type of behaviour that occurs regularly.

“What we’d be looking for is more Garda policing in the woodland. It’s usually pretty good – this is not a common occurrence,” said the spokesperson.

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty says she has received no complaints about this particular incident, but has had ongoing complaints about some of the anti-social behaviour both around the castle and in the Merlin Woods.

“I have been in contact with the Gardaí on numerous occasions to step up patrols, which they have been doing, but it’s impossible to keep it patrolled on a 24-hour basis,” said Cllr O’Flaherty.

“There are ongoing complaints about the anti-social behaviour in Merlin Woods. It’s a pretty big area, is easily accessed, and once you get in there, you’re completely out of sight. And there’s been the depositing of litter and stuff in there as well.”

But despite these ongoing complaints, Cllr O’Flaherty feels that the Friends of Merlin Woods Group are a strong asset to the area.

“They do a great job. They deserve to be highly commended and it’s unfortunate that they would be treated like that by certain members of the public.”