A community-run playground could be forced to close, after the cost of its insurance doubled.
Glenties Community Playground opened about five years ago, with funding from the Leader programme, the National Lottery, the HSE and local contributions. A church gate collection has been held each year to pay for insurance, which costs €5-600 annually.
This month, however, the voluntary group got a shock when they received a renewal notice quoting €1,225.61. Martin Breslin (pictured), the group's chair, says they "have no idea" how they will be able to come up with such a large sum.
"We've never made a claim or had any problems and we've got a bill that's doubled. It's an awful lot to ask from a small community, especially at a time when there is so much unemployment and so many people are struggling to pay their own bills," he explains. "This puts us in a very difficult situation, and, I'm sure, a lot of other community groups as well.
"The playground is in constant use, with The Rock housing estate behind it and a national school and playgroup on either side of it.
"But the reality is that we may have to close the playground, if we can't afford the insurance. And I'm sure ours wouldn’t be the only one."
The group are hoping that Donegal County Council will be able to assist, either financially or with advice on how to access a better insurance deal.
“We’re not too optimistic, though,” Martin admits,”because the council don’t actually own or operate our playground.”
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council stated that the local authority “directly controls, manages and maintains 48 playgrounds in the county, including one at Clós Naomh Conail, Glenties."
“These playgrounds were developed in conjunction with the respective communities and Donegal County Council arranges for the insurance of these playgrounds through our standard insurance policy.”