Man vows he’ll risk arrest to stop play pen project

by Ian Begley

A number of members of Blakestown Community & Resource Centre are protesting against a planned kids’ play-pen – with one even saying he’s willing to get arrested if builders attempt to enter the site.
Plans to construct a two-and-a-half-foot fence within the centre’s community garden for toddlers to use two times a day for 20 minutes, has been met with opposition from local residents and some staff members employed under back-to-work schemes.
They believe the community garden in front of the building will be destroyed once the development begins and do not think it is an appropriate or safe site for toddlers to play in.
Jason Brady told The Gazette he is willing to stop the play-pen from being built at all costs and started a petition, which he says has more than 100 signatures.
He said: “Once a digger comes in here they’re going to destroy all the work that has gone into the garden throughout the years. There are many people from the community who come here to have a cup of coffee and to find a bit of peace and solace.
“If the police have to take me away in handcuffs so be it because I’m not letting them uproot our garden. And if I do get arrested I hope it causes uproar and that people start to stand up for themselves in this area.
“There’s no community spirit around here because we’ve all been oppressed.”
Regular member of the community centre Margaret McGuire said: “I’ve 11 children altogether so when they’re in school I like to come here to relax with the other members.
“This is my time and I don’t want to see more kids running about and as a mother I wouldn’t feel very comfortable with my children playing in an area that’s so close to the road – god knows who’s passing by.
“There is a perfectly good spot behind or beside the centre to put the play-pen and I hope that the management soon come to their senses,” she said.
Janice O’Sullivan, member of the Blakestown Community Centre’s board of management, said she was surprised to hear of opposition to the play-pen, adding that the garden will not be affected by its development.
She said: “We needed to have a suitable outdoor play area for the children who attend the creche here. We decided that the best place for the kids to be, in terms of health and safety, was in front of the building where they will be surrounded by a beautiful natural environment.”

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