Anger as Kilkenny playground removed over dumping and anti-social behaviour
By COLIN BARTLEY
A CHILDREN’S playground has been removed and a wall knocked at a Kilkenny community centre because of illegal dumping and ongoing anti-social behaviour in the area.
Kilkenny County Council said it was forced to take the extraordinary measure of knocking the wall and removing a playground at the Fr McGrath Centre on St Joseph’s Road this week as it had become a safety risk to young children.
The wall and playground were removed with the permission of the Fr McGrath Centre.
In a statement, the council said “a significant proportion”of its playground budget has been spent on the Fr McGrath Centre. However, it said this situation was “unsustainable”.
A council spokesperson told KilkennyNow.ie: “The works carried out in the vicinity of the Fr McGrath Centre are in response to illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour which has been an ongoing issue for the past number of years.
“The council reluctantly undertook this course action after years of significant investment into this recreational facility. Over the last four years, 20% of the Council’s maintenance budget for all, now 30 playgrounds across the whole county, was spent on this particular facility.
“With the situation unlikely to change this was unsustainable.
“The main focus of our intervention was to remove the safety risk that was posed to young children using the Multi-Use Game Area (MUGA) and playground as a result of play equipment being repeatedly damaged, the soft surfacing under the playground being pull-up and the risk associated with the vandalised screen fencing around the MUGA.
“In addition, given that the MUGA was screened from the public road and is unlit it is prone to anti-social behaviour and illegal dumping.”
The council resurfaced the older children’s playground so that basketball and soccer could still be played on it. The screen fencing surrounding the playground, which was extensively damaged, had to be removed. However, the toddler playground will remain in place.
The council spokesperson added: “The removal of the boundary wall was required to allow passive surveillance from the public road by the public down to the MUGA area, with the hope that same (surveillance) will act as a deterrent to further damage being caused to the MUGA itself and reduce illegal dumping.
“Going forward, it is intended CCTV will be provided at this location, along with enhanced lighting, to combat the issues outlined above. Once in place, it’s the Council’s intention that the playground will be reinstated.”