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10 Aug 2022

Offaly playground labelled as dangerous and an 'absolute disgrace'

Offaly playground labelled as an 'absolute disgrace'

Offaly playground labelled as an 'absolute disgrace'

A parent has strongly criticised the current condition of a large playground in Offaly, calling it an “absolute disgrace.”

The concerned parent told the Tribune that he brought the condition of the popular facility on Wilmer Road, Birr to the attention of the Council but not enough has been done.

“In September of last year,” he said, “I emailed several Councillors to describe the situation and to try and have the situation rectified, but as it stands, only minor repairs have been made.

“The playground is an absolute disgrace at present and needs urgent attention, to prevent a child getting a serious injury.

“Our family are regular users of the playground since it first opened and usually very much enjoy using the facility. However, this enjoyment has been greatly diminished in recent months due to the degradation of the condition of the grounds and the activities themselves.

“The major point I wish to draw your attention to is a safety concern. The soft surrounds around many of the activities are giving way, leaving large craters in the ground, which are quite frankly dangerous and will undoubtedly lead to the injury of a child (or an adult) who falls into one of them.

“In many cases, pieces of wood are broken or missing, with graffiti (much of it years old) adorning many activities. The metal frames have paint chipping away, revealing rusting metal underneath. The bearings are broken in both of the swing sets (and have been for at least 2 years). The roundabout activity bearing is broken and wobbles severely. The zipline seat coating is disintegrating and is too low. The rope bridge in the climbing frame is fraying and is being held together with additional rope and insulation tape.”

Responding to the concerns of the parent, Cllr John Clendennen said he had shared his concerns with the Area Engineer, and the Engineer is 'committed to the continued maintenance of the space'.

"There is no doubt that the level of maintenance and newly acquired equipment is not currently meeting the expected standards, and I will be raising this over the coming weeks during our budget negotiations for the coming year, with the intention of proposing an increased budget allocation for playgrounds in 2022," he added.

"Separately, there is currently work underway by the Community, Cultural & Emergency Services Strategic Policy Committee that I am a member of, to establish a more streamlined approach to playgrounds across the county, with the objective of providing a safer and more enjoyable experience for all playground users, as Offaly County Council works with local communities to do so.”

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