The culprits responsible for ‘wanton’ vandalism of playgrounds in Knocknacarra and other areas of the city must be apprehended so children do not lose out on these vital amenities, says local councillor Donal Lyons who vowed that work will continue to ensure funding for playgrounds will be included in future council budgets.
Cllr Lyons was speaking after residents in Knocknacarra were left disappointed when McGrath’s Field playground lost out on a €7,500 prize fund for a major upgrade in the Brennan’s Bread Make Over Competition.
McGrath’s Field was one of 10 nationwide shortlisted for the competition, but it was Moyross in Limerick that emerged the winner when on line voting ended at midnight on June 30. .
Speaking to the Advertiser yesterday, Cllr Lyons said despite losing the competition, further upgrades of existing playgrounds as well as providing new playgrounds in areas that needed them could still be a reality.
“There is nothing in this year’s budget for playgrounds, but myself, Cllr McNelis and others, will be trying to get funding for next year’s budget and for future ones. First we will need to upgrade the ones we have, there is some equipment that has been there for years, and then look at providing additional playgrounds in areas where they are needed. McGraths had a make-over five years ago, but it has been used so much, certainly it is in need of further upgrade,” he said.
However Cllr Lyons warned the major problem facing the upkeep and maintenance of playgrounds in the city was vandalism with the most recent incident occuring last Sunday night in Cappagh Park where a number of picnic benches were set alight.
“It’s wanton vandalism, it’s the children who lose out. This is not going to jeopardise funding, but it doesn’t help, particularly in these hard pressed times . The only way to stamp out vandalism is to apprehend these culprits. I’d ask anyone who saw suspicious activity to contact gardai,” said Cllr Lyons.
McGrath’s Field was originally constructed in 2000 in response to the area’s rapidly expanding young population and now services a population of more than 5,000.
Despite McGrath’s Field losing out on the make-over, Galway’s involvement in the Brennan’s Bread competition continues, with local company Murphy Playground Services being contracted to carry out the make-over on the winning playground in Moyross. MD of Murphy Playground Services, which was established in 2009, Seamus Murphy said: “We are delighted to be involved with this competition and Brennan’s Bread. Playgrounds are more important now than ever as a free outdoor space for families. They provide a great focal point for children of all ages as well as their parents to meet and socialise.”