Council staff observe a message sprayed on a temporary wall in the city.

Sign of the times: Council staff observe a message sprayed on a temporary wall in the city.

A recent spate of graffiti vandalism in some areas of the city has been described as an absolute disgrace by Sinn Fein councillor Joe Kelly.

“Like any other form of vandalism, this amounts to criminal damage”, he stated. “If someone was to go along any street and smash car windows or shop windows, it would not be tolerated, and neither should this type of conduct”.

“This disgusting carry-on is having a negative effect on the appearance of our city and impacts on locals and visitors alike. Also the associated costs are growing each year”.

He pointed out that the City Council now had an employee working on graffiti removal full time and even that was not sufficient to keep on top of the problem. “This costs the taxpayer around €40,000 annually and that only relates to public buildings. If you include private buildings the costs are much greater”, he complained.

Cllr Kelly continued: “As far as I know not one person has been convicted of this offence in Waterford. Certainly from a City Council perspective no one has ever been charged in relation to damage to public buildings by graffiti vandals. Clearly a lot more needs to be done to stop this menace including the use of surveillance cameras and a real effort from the gardai to apprehend the culprits”.

He said schools had a part to play in stopping this kind of anti social behaviour, by raising the issue in classes and trying to educate young people as to the damage they are doing and the cost to taxpayers.