A ‘mindless act of vandalism” which saw a tourist trail sign cut down in the Nire Valley has been condemned.
The sign,which cost €3,5000 to erect, was located at the car park in the Nire Valley where walkers embark from on their exploration of the scenic area.
It contained maps of the four national looped walks and two spur walks and were invaluable to tourists who would not be too familiar with the area.
The signs were erected over two years ago as part of a combined community effort involving Nire Valley Failte, Waterford County Council, local landowners and community representatives.
“Everybody here is disgusted at what happened. This was a deliberate act of vandalism, it was planned as the people responsible would have to bring with them the equipment required to carry out such damage” said Michael Desmond of the Nire Valley Failte.
He explained that he sign was cut probably with a chainsaw.
“It was certainly not something that was carried out by people messing about”, he said.
“They knew what they were doing, they had to bring special equipment with them to carry it out.
“Nobody knows why anybody would wish to damage this sign as it was a most valuable guide to walkers, tourists and people set out from that point by planing their walk from that map”, said Mr Desmond.
He said the loss of the sign left tourists stranded in the car park, left with no assistance or guidance as to what might be the most suitable route to take.
Mr Desmond explained that the car park was a popular starting point for tourists and the signage was provided to highlight the inclusion of the looped walks in a national looped walk project.
“People were shocked to discover this had happened.It is disgraceful. The whole community were behind this and everybody is saddened that such an attack would be made,A lot of people are regular walkers in the area but some arrive for the first time and need guidance to help them choose the most suitable route for them” he said.