Tara Hartigan, Anne McNamara, and Dee Ryan at Castleconnell playground
THE PICTURESQUE Shannonside location of Casleconnell’s playground is not matched by its appearance say locals.
As Limerick City and County Council finalise budget allocations for playgrounds to be approved by councillors, parents and residents in the village are calling on elected officials to ensure that the 12 year old well-loved facility is not overlooked for investment and upgrade.
Dee Ryan, a parent and local activist who arranged a meeting with local authority officials to discuss the matter, said their community playground provides vital outdoor play space.
“With a growing population of young children, it is hugely important that the facility is invested in and upgraded to support parents seeking healthy outdoor activities for their children.
“The playground is a widely used and popular asset, however, it is going on 12 years since it was first fundraised for by local parents and installed. It is now in dire need of updating. We want the local authority to invest in the upgrade and improvement of the playground in order to meet the needs of the population in the village now and the expected population growth over the next five years,” said Ms Ryan.
Tara Hartigan, local activist and parent, said her children love coming to the playground.
“My daughter plays here with her friends after school, as do many children who attend the two large primary schools in the local area. However, my 3-year-old son struggles with some of the equipment as it is not suitable for his age group – this needs to be addressed,” said Ms Hartigan.
Owner and operator of Sunny Lane Creche - one of three creches located in the village - Anne McNamara said she cares for the children of over 100 families.
“I see huge demand from families for outdoor play spaces for small children. My team and I frequently take small groups down to the playground during the day but the rides and equipment are very limited, with only two swings for smallies, so they have to wait a long time for turns. It would be wonderful to have more available for them to play with and enjoy,” said Ms McNamara.
A number of locals met with a senior council engineer to enquire what could be done to improve the facility.
Ms Hartigan said you only get one childhood and given the impact of Covid on children’s lives “we are very concerned that we should be providing more for children in our community”.
They highlighted the excellent plans for nearby playgrounds in Castletroy and Newport and asked for similar investment to meet the needs of the Castleconnell area.
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