Vandals wreck pensioner’s gardening pride and joy

Pat O'Hora, Derek Cassidy, and Paddy Welsh of Tuam Men's Shed examine the damage caused to their polytunnel. Photo: Johnny Ryan Photography.

The efforts of an 85 year old man to develop a vegetable polytunnel have been destroyed by vandals.

The poly tunnel was erected and nurtured as part of the Tuam Men’s Shed project. Frank Hession was the driving force behind the initiative.

He is said to be very disappointed over the fact that the polytunnel has been destroyed by vandals. It was located on the Dublin Road on the grounds of the old St. Patrick’s College.

It was used for the growing of tomatoes and other vegetables but now the polythene cover has got to be replaced and at no small cost to those involved in the Men’s Shed initiative.

Derek Cassidy was one of the founders of the Men’s Shed in Tuam and he said that it was a mean act and one that had infuriated the 20-plus members.

He said that whoever was responsible for the damage punched holes in the fabric and kicked the structure in. He said that it could not be repaired.

Frank Hession is one of the original members of the Tuam Men’s Shed and one of the most enthusiastic. He played golf for years at Tuam Golf Club and was delighted when the concept of a Men’s Shed was developed in the town.

The establishment of the polytunnel was one of Frank’s initiatives and was used to provide education to primary school children locally with regard to the growing of vegetables.

Derek Cassidy said that ripping of the polytunnel was very hard for Frank Hession to take, having been behind its establishment.

“We are having a meeting about what happened and, hopefully, we will be in a position to get a replacement. We can’t do much about what happened, but hopefully there are parents of young people who are embarrassed by what happened.

“It is understood that there was a group of young people in the immediate area of the scene prior to it being vandalised. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Derek Cassidy added.

Tuam Men’s Shed was established more than two years ago and has between 20 to 30 regular members. One of their biggest projects was transforming the old wooden ‘gallows’ into various products which were much sought after.

The gallows was a wooden watch tower over Temple Jarlath Cemetery at High Street in Tuam. It was the subject of much criticism before it was finally dismantled.