THE CHAIRMAN of the Newcastle West Community Council has hit out at the deliberate damaging of a safety fence around the town’s playground by teenagers.
Michael Finucane said that teenagers playing soccer and other ball games in the playground - which is meant to be used by young children only - have damaged a piece of the perimeter fence in order to create a shortcut to retrieve lost footballs.
Mr Finucane, a former TD and senator, said that the problem is a symptom of the broader issue of a lack of a dedicated teenage games area in Newcastle West.
“It wasn’t sheer vandalism, I think it’s just laziness. What seems to be happening is bored teenagers use [the playground] to kick a ball around. That’s not what it’s intended for. It seems that when the ball goes out over the fence, rather than using a gate they take a shortcut and go through the fencing.”
The security fence around the playground in the Demesne was erected by the community council two years ago at a cost of over €6,000. Mr Finucane said that while the group intend to pay to have the fence repaired, “our concern is that it will happen again”.
Plans are currently in place to construct a dedicated teen games area next to the playground, which will include a skate park, running track and other facilities. However the project is currently in limbo due to an unexpected reduction to funding to West Limerick Resources, who it was hoped would cover the bulk of the project’s €150,000 cost.
Mr Finucane said that the community council remain committed to providing the teen games area, and expressed hope that there will be more clarity on the funding issue soon.
“It’s still one of our primary objectives. We had hoped that West Limerick Resources would have been able to secure funding for it, they’re very sympathetic to the project. We’re hoping that by the end of the year they’ll have clarity on what their funding position is going to be.”