The Office of Public Works (OPW) and local authorities spent more than €120,000 on repairing damaged Dublin playgrounds last year, including cases where maintenance staff had to clean human excrement off facilities in the parks.

Figures from three local authorities and the OPW show that of the extensive repairs, the most expensive occurred in Swords where a playground was burnt down at a cost of €40,000.

According to details provided with the figures, in some cases such as in the Malahide Demense playground, cleaners had to be called out to clean "human excrement" from slides and swings and other equipment in the area.

Authorities were called out to repair over 56 different cases of damaged playgrounds in 2009.

This total does not take into account vandalism to the playground at O'Devaney Gardens which was completely burnt down. The final costs of repair are still unknown. One source estimated the final bill could be around €20,000.

Andrew Harkness, a parent from Dublin who is campaigning to put an end to the vandalism, said he is "sadly unsurprised" by the figures.

"The fact that the damage is so deliberate is shocking. The figures for repairs seem excessively high.

"I brought my two-year-old to the playground in the Phoenix Park and one of the units had been burnt out there, in the autumn of last year. I thought it was ridiculous and a once-off, but we happened to move to Clontarf and I decided to bring my son to the playground again. It was the same situation there, however."

Harkness said the majority of children's play areas in Dublin are being affected by vandalism.

A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said it is now enforcing measures to make the play areas safe and to block them off from being accessible to the public in the evenings.