A 12-year-old schoolboy’s decision to start an online petition has been instrumental in securing a skate park for Skibbereen –with a €60,000 boost.
Rowan Lawlor, who is in sixth class at the local gaelscoil, was as surprised as anyone when the petition he started, last October, garnered over 1,300 signatures in a few short weeks.
It wasn’t just young people who signed the petition but adults and parents too – all of whom thought it was a great idea to provide a safe environment for young people to meet, socialise and exercise.
At a pre-Christmas meeting of the West Cork Municipal District, Mac Dara O h-Icí, a senior executive officer with Cork County Council, indicated that Rowan was ‘pushing an open door.’
But it was only at a Council meeting in Dunmanway on Monday that Mr O h-Icí was in a position to confirm that the local authority has set aside €60,000 for a new skate park, which is to be developed at either the Marsh Road, or the green area adjacent to the town’s playground.
When he heard the news, Rowan said he was delighted. As someone who skates to and from school, and spends much of his free time at the weekend skateboarding, he said it will be brilliant not to have to spend time searching out safe places where he and his friends can meet to have fun and not bother anyone.
Cllr Mary Hegarty (FG) said the green area next to the playground would be the better option because it would keep families together.
‘Not every child is into soccer or GAA and we need more facilities like this,’ she said.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said Clonakilty would like one too. Meanwhile, Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) paid tribute to Rowan Lawlor, saying: ‘This is a perfect example of young people leading the way and showing us how to get things done. Through his petition, Rowan ignited a spark, and the Council responded.’