Wicklow County Council is committed to making Wicklow a more child-friendly county, the Chief Executive, Mr Frank Curran, said at the opening of three play facilities last week.
These included a skatepark in Baltinglass; a playground in Rathdangan and a multi-use games area in Knockananna.
Mr Curran stressed that Wicklow County Council recognises the benefits of play both to children and society in general adding that Play is the main method by which children learn to live. Regarding the three new facilities, he said the Council had worked to ensure that children can move and play in their neighbourhoods as safely as possible.
The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Edward Timmins, said the Council’s Play Policy came about as a result of children making their voices heard and the fact that policymakers are listening to what they have to say.
The play facilities were officially opened by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, whose Department supported some of the initiatives. He was accompanied by the Minister for Health and Wicklow TD, Simon Harris.
He said: “I’m delighted to be in Wicklow to officially open these wonderful new community amenities. Today’s visit provides a great opportunity to see how rural communities in Wicklow are working together to improve their local areas and how targeted Government investment is supporting them.
“By funding a new skate park in Baltinglass, a playground in Rathdangan and a Multi-Use Games Area in Knockananna, we are supporting families in these rural towns and villages.
I am also visiting Rathdrum where €100,000 has been allocated under my Department’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme for Footpaths, Street Furniture, Signage and Works on the Town Square which will encourage people to use it as an area to congregate and hold events.”
Minister Ring added: “People should have the opportunity to have a decent quality of life, no matter where they choose to live. By having a practical, workable growth plan and backing it up with smart and significant investment in our rural communities, towns and villages, Project Ireland 2040 can enable rural Ireland to realise its potential.”
Speaking at the opening of the multi-use games area in Knockanna, Chief Executive, Mr Frank Curran, said it was inspiring to see the number of people who work so hard in a voluntary capacity to improve the quality of life in their community.
“It is a proud day for you today and I would like to pay tribute to all the playground committee members. Rathdangan presented us with a unique and beautiful site on which to build a playground. The setting in which it sits is stunning and I believe the playground itself compliments and sits into its surroundings beautifully.”
Speaking at the opening of the Baltinglass skatepark, Cllr Timmins said: “I was approached by a group of young people a few years ago who wished to have a skatepark and I am delighted to be here as Cathaoirleach to open the skatepark which was wanted and needed. An application was made under the Sports Capital Fund and €92,000 was secured. I would like to express our thanks to the Department of Transport, Tourism and sport for this.”
The Cathaoirleach and the Chief Executive thanks the Director, Michael Nicholson, and the staff of the Community, Cultural and Social Development department for their work on the various projects.