Locals rally to save playground

Matt Britton

Reporter:

Matt Britton

Following on the recent acts of anti-social behaviour at the children’s playground in Donegal Town a large crowd turned out at a public meeting in Donegal Town to address the issues.

Following on the recent acts of anti-social behaviour at the children’s playground in Donegal Town a large crowd turned out at a public meeting in Donegal Town to address the issues.

As reported by Democrat Newspapers, two slides were smeared with faeces at the playground several weeks ago and there was a massive public outcry in response to this despicable turn of affairs.

In response to that the local Community Chamber galvanised local people and an excellent meeting last Thursday night saw the community come to the fore.

The meeting was chaired by Bernie Mulhern of Donegal Community Chamber and attended by both concerned parents and public representatives, Cllrs John Boyle and John Campbell and the Mayor of Donegal Town, Tom Conaghan.

Both councillors told the meeting that this problem was regrettably not confined to Donegal Town - there had also been similar incidents in Killybegs, Ardara. Ballyshannon and Bundoran and was a symptom of modern society.

Ernan Mc Gettigan told the meeting that unless the community were prepared to take ownership for the playground that regrettably it would be closed.

“I have been in touch with the County Council and they have a fund set aside to carry out urgent repairs but unless we can take responsibility in opening and closing the facility and keeping a general eye on it they would not be in a position to fund these.

“They have also stressed that they would also discontinue the insurance on the play area if their recommendations were not met.”

There was quite a lively discussion from the floor regarding more long term solutions including the provision of CCTV, more lighting and the general trend of anti - social behaviour.

One lady said that it was highly intimidating to face a group of teenagers fuelled by drink - “We just could not take this on board - all we can do is call the Gardai.

Bernie Mulhern said, “Undoubtedly there are longer term issues that we will have to address at a future date but to keep this playground open we will have to form a committee who will take responsibility for the running of this facility.

“If we cannot do this tonight this playground will be closed next week.”

At the end of the meeting most of the attendees submitted their names to Mary McGettian as volunteers on the committee, effectively ensuring that the playground will remain open.