By Kieran O’Mahony
ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour, including youths throwing stones at small children, is one of the reasons some parents are refusing to use the playground in Bandon.
As a result, local councillors are now calling for an urgent upgrade of the facilities there following numerous complaints from parents.
At a recent meeting of Bandon Kinsale Municipal District some councillors pointed out that some families are opting to drive to playgrounds outside of the town rather than use Bandon, due to incidences of anti-social behaviour and the drabness of the facility.
Cllr James O’Donovan (FG) raised the motion calling on Cork County Council to address the concerns of parents who take their children to the playground.
‘There are a couple of issues here and they include the fact that people feel the slides and swings are unsafe and that there are big gaps. There is also concern about the surface with children falling and cutting themselves as well as anti-social behaviour from a number of people,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.
‘I know of one parent who was told where to go when he asked a teenager to stop throwing stones at the children in the playground. People are feeling that it’s become run down and as a result, they are going out of town to use playgrounds which means that the playground becomes disused.’ Cllr O’Donovan said the facility needs an urgent upgrade and that the gardaí should also be monitoring it for reports of anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF) pointed out that the playground was old and has been there a long time and that families were going to more modern playgrounds outside the town. She also suggested the inclusion of a wheelchair swing for the playground, which would make it more inclusive.
‘I’ve used it myself and it served its time well but it needs to be upgraded. It’s been flooded too but it didn’t get the sprucing up it deserves and we need to use whatever municipal funding we have to upgrade it,’ said Cllr McCarthy.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) also supported the motion and said it’s a pity that there is no way of controlling things in a public playground and called for it to be policed.
Cllr Alan Coleman (Ind) asked if the Council could paint the playground without having to renovate the whole place.
However, senior council executive engineer Charlie McCarthy said that the playground is inspected weekly with safety checks carried out on all equipment.
‘Issues are addressed at these inspections and technically the equipment is safe and functional, otherwise it would be removed,’ said Charlie.
‘The bulk of the pieces are timber and the nature of wooden equipment tends to look more run down.’
Council official Mac Dara Ó hIcí said that if the equipment is working, then it’s worth spending money to brighten the place up.
Cllr O’Donovan enquired about the possibility of getting National Lottery funding but was told that sports capitation grants exclude playgrounds.
Councillors agreed that they would explore all avenues of funding and examine the costs of upgrading the facility versus refitting the whole playground.