Children in Dublin 8 have no place to play, claim angry protestors

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

Last week saw circa 200 demonstrators turn out to protest at the lack of green space and community facilities for children and youth in the Liberties across Dublin 8.

Catherine Mc Sweeney, secretary of The Tenters Residents Association, stated the wider community is perplexed and angry that Donore Community Centre which has been closed since March 2020 owing to Covid, and then vandalism, remains an eyesore and there is no alternative centre to provide sporting and social amenities for the area.

Joining last week’s demonstration was Deputies Bríd Smith (PBP) and Patrick Costello (GP), Cllr Deirdre Cronin (PBP) and Darragh Moriarty (Lab); also representatives from the Sporting Liberties which entails St Kevin’s Hurling & Camogoie Club, Liberties Rugby, Donore Boxing Club, Donore Alcohol and Drug team, Donore Credit Union, St Catherine’s National School, Educate Together Griffith Barracks Primary School and Scoil Treasa NS.

“Our community centre was fire damaged on June 22, 2021, having been closed  the year before owing to Covid restrictions. It has remained closed ever since, leaving residents bereft of any indoor or outdoor community amenities!” said Catherine.

“We have repeatedly raised the issue with DCC through local councillors Maire Devine (SF) and Deirdre Cronin (PBP) among others who’ve raised questions at council meetings, and residents associations and sporting groups have lobbied and pushed for the speedy repair and re-opening of the centre, to no avail.

“It’s awful to see the weeds growing up through the ground at the centre.

We have had various updates and reports from DCC – but there is no sense of urgency at all from the council.”

Last month, Ms McSweeney received a time-line from DCC stating a design team Cotters/Naessens had begun assessing the works needed, with “a full room by room inventory of the building by Thornton’s Chartered Surveyors completed.” Thereafter the removal of fire-damaged furniture and fittings was required and further investigations before the tender process can commence. DCC estimated it would take circa four months for the process to complete.

“Then, DCC estimated another four months for a detailed design to be undertaken, and three months for the tender appointment to be made. That all brings us up to next Spring, and another year passed before construction can commence – and that is ‘to be confirmed’ before the fifth and final stage, that is the handover for community usage can be facilitated!

“In all that could mean that for five years, this community will have endured no local centre and no green space. There was a pitch, park and playground  to be built as part of DCC’s own permission for 54 social housing and apartments on Margaret  Kennedy  Road. But this never happened and the area is currently fenced off with ugly industrial fencing. Sad to see children looking in at what should be a green open space to play in!”

Ms McSweeney also alluded to the site at the remaining blocks of apartments at St Theresa’s Gardens wherein DCC’s masterplan had promised a full size multi-sports pitch long promised to local Gaelic, rugby and soccer clubs.

The Liberties, she claimed has the lowest amount of green space per capita in Ireland! There is, she claims, only a small park in Weaver Square providing green space to the wider area, one which is overused and even there, the playground was damaged due to a fire/vandalism attack.

“The play equipment still has not been replaced. There seems to be no urgency with DCC to provide much-needed green spaces and sporting facilities to the communities in D8!” she concluded.

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