ONLY adults accompanying children will be allowed to enter playgrounds, according to new bye-laws that are to be adopted by Cork County Council.
Municipal officer Justin England outlined a number of amendments that will empower authorised personnel to eject people from play areas and curb anti-social behaviour. The review is a follow -n from a notice of motion that was raised at the Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District.
The motion called for the provision of age-appropriate signage at playgrounds and ‘the prohibition of children and adults over the age of 12, except in special circumstances.’
Mr England said the prohibition on adults does not include any authorised person, such as a Council official, or members of the Gardaí, who are there in the course of their duties.
The new bye-laws say that children over the age of 12 years old ‘shall not enter a playground where the equipment provided is designed for use by young children up to 12 years only.’
In his report, Mr England said: ‘Children older than the age of 12 years have in effect outgrown the kind of activities facilitated by playground equipment and have advanced to more personally-challenging and socially interactive activities.’
Other new rules state that skate parks shall not be used by children aged under eight years old, and outdoor gyms shall not be used by children aged under 14 years old.
And, in a bid to discourage illegal drinking on these sites, Mr England said: ‘Controlling drinking on these sites is already incorporated in the bye-laws and may be enforced by An Garda Siochana.’
Article 28 of the bye-laws state: ‘No person shall consume intoxicating liquor or have in their possession a vessel containing intoxicating liquor … in the playground, multi-use play area, skate park or outdoor gym.’
The proposals were ratified by the Council’s social inclusion and community strategic policy committee and it was agreed that they would be circulated to each of the eight municipal districts in Cork County.
The re-worded bye-laws are to be published as part of a public consultation process and are to go before a full Council meeting where they are expected to be finally adopted.
One councillor spotted a wrinkle in the works. Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said that with his son, Tiernan, due to turn 13 at the start of December he might be excluded, by law, from family outings to the playground.
Although he did joke that while he and the ‘Mrs’ entertained the 10 and seven-year-old, Tiernan could walk the dogs because ‘dogs aren’t welcome either.’
There was, of course, a solution: another amendment saying anyone over 12 could enter the park, if they were with a parent.