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Attack on second GAA club provokes widespread anger within community

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Attack on second GAA club provokes widespread anger within community thumbnailThe empty cabinet where the emergency defibrillator was removed and destroyed in a malicious attack

WIDESPREAD anger has been expressed after 'mindless' vandals targeted a local GAA club in Trillick over the weekend only days after significant damage was caused to the Omagh St Enda's premises in a burglary.

A defibrillator was stolen and a window smashed at the St Macartan's premises on the Gargadis Road sometime between midnight on Friday and 11am on Saturday.

Meanwhile, intruders caused substantial damage to the St Enda's club premises on the Gortin Road in Omagh sometime between 9pm on Monday, February 20, and 8am on Tuesday, February 21.

A number of items were taken, including three safes, a till and alcoholic spirits.

The most recent incident in Trillick has been condemned by St Macartan's club chairman, Francy Gallagher, who said the entire community is "deeply disappointed" by the attack on the club.

The defibrillator was provided by the Cormac McAnallen Trust for the community and has been successfully used in the recent past, he explained.

"It's disappointing because club members have been doing their utmost to improve the facilities," he said.

"It's also upsetting to think there are people who can carry out such an act of vandalism in our community. I can't understand the motive behind the attack.

"The facilities are available and open to everyone for music, boccia and so on. It's a small community but the club offers something for everyone.

"This act is in stark contrast to the sterling work carried out by our members over the years. It's a setback but it certainly won't deter us.

"The defibrillator will be replaced as it a vital piece of equipment. The minors are playing next week so we'll have to try to get something in place before then."

Also condemning the incident is chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Mary Garrity, who has been a member of the club for many years.

"The defibrillator was for everyone's use in the entire community, not only the GAA club, and it's clear to see the people responsible for this attack haven't got any regard for themselves, so what else are they capable of?

"It has angered and disappointed me. I can't understand the motive behind the mindless attack. It's deeply upsetting for the whole community but it won't deter the club from carrying out its good work.

"The defibrillator has been used in a successful capacity in the recent past and that proves just how crucial this piece of equipment can be."

Meanwhile, several members of the local community participated in a 'clean-up operation' at St Enda's last week after burglars caused significant damage to the fixtures and fittings.

Subsequently the club had to cancel a number of activities. A spokesman said the club would not allow this despicable attack to set them back.

"We wish to thank everyone involved in helping us get back to some sense of normality," the spokesman said. "It is in moments like these that we truly appreciate how strong the GAA community is."

Police are appealing to anyone who has information about either incident to contact officers in Omagh on 101, Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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