A dedicated grant scheme is needed for maintenance and upgrades of playgrounds for the benefit of children and young people in our communities, according to a Fine Gael TD.
Galway Deputy Ciaran Cannon said: “The vast majority of playgrounds in rural Ireland have been developed by local community groups, with support from the State through various funding schemes.
“Many of these community playgrounds are now well over a decade old, with many issues beginning to arise in terms of their safety and a need for general maintenance. Equipment needs to be upgraded or replaced completely and insurance is sometimes difficult to secure in the absence of such upgrades.
“All in all, major problems are mounting up and causing a major headache for those committed volunteers who work hard in our communities. That’s why I’m suggesting we need a dedicated grant scheme for the maintenance and upgrading of community playgrounds.
“This is an issue I have raised with my colleague, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, TD, who confirmed to me that she would be open to examining the issue.
“The most logical option is to route this funding through the Department of Rural and Community Development. Minister Humphreys and her officials have valuable experience in the shaping of such funding schemes and ensuring value for taxpayers’ money.
“They can build on the success of a recent scheme for the upgrade of community centres. The response for example to last year’s Community Centres Investment fund was extremely well received. In excess of €45.8 million was allocated to refurbish more than 860 community centres, making them safer, more accessible and more enjoyable places for families and communities.
“I have made a recommendation to my Fine Gael cabinet colleagues that this Community Playground Upgrade Scheme would be provided for in the upcoming budget and would go live in early 2024”.