‘We don’t want children’s playground forced on us’

by Emma Nolan
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SOME Goatstown locals have voiced their opposition to a playground for the area.
Two weeks ago, The Gazette reported that members of the Roebuck Residents’ Association and Goatstown residents say that despite the large number of young children in Goatstown, there is no playground within walking distance.
“The space for a playground exists, and the funds and support are there. So why not build it?”
However, The Gazette received some responses from residents who say they are against the playground.
One said: “There are very few children in the immediate area. Most residents are middle-aged or retired; therefore, the playground would presumably be to serve a much wider area.
“This, in turn, will mean parents and children arriving in cars on already congested roads.”
Another asked: “Why should this very quiet and settled area have a playground inflicted on it?”
Playground supporter Will O’Reilly spoke to The Gazette about what he and many of his neighbours feels a playground will bring to the area.
“The field as it is is pretty forlorn. It’s just a small playground that’s being proposed – it would be brilliant. I contacted the council about it five years ago but there was no funding for it at the time, but it’s in the local area plan now.”
Will and his wife and three young sons live on Taney Crescent. He says his neighbours on either side of him also have young children who would benefit from a playground on the green, as at present, they have to drive to Windy Arbour, Mount Merrion or Marlay Park to access one.
Those opposed to the playground, however, fear that it will attract anti-social behaviour.
One person said: “Past experience has shown this type of facility brings with it many, many problems.”
In response to this, Will said that the open green space is just as likely to attract anti-social behaviour as a playground is.
He added that it’s good for everyone in the area to have their say, but he feels that, overall, a playground would be a positive addition to the area for children, parents and grandparents.
He said: “Some people are worried about some things, and they should definitely be heard,” but feels that their concerns are unfounded.
Cllr Karen Furlong (GP) agreed that the objections are unfounded, and that the number of young families in the area is increasing, so the need for a playground is prevalent.
She said: “I have received about five emails objecting to the playground, but this is a very small percentage compared to the overwhelming support for it.
“It’s only a very small playground for the local children, and as regards to anti-social behaviour, the playground will be locked at night to prevent anyone accessing it then.”
As for concerns that the playground would serve the wider area, Will’s response was that “they’re worried that it’s people from outside the area that are pushing this, and that there aren’t that many kids here, but the demographic has changed.
“The reason they think that there are not that many kids is because they’re all inside or elsewhere because they have nowhere to play.
“There’s a lot more kids, but facilities-wise, we just don’t have anything for them. With positivity and community we’re all the better,” he said.

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