Sunday 22 April 2018

Funds only for 'no smoking' playgrounds

Minister for Children Dr James Reilly. Photo: Collins
Minister for Children Dr James Reilly. Photo: Collins
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

All public playgrounds and recreation areas for children will have to be "no smoking" in future if they want funding.

Minister for Children James Reilly sanctioned capital grants of between €10,000 and €15,000 from a €250,000 fund for new or upgraded children's play and recreation projects in 19 local authority areas.

However, he said all future applications for grants will have to provide a guarantee they will be smoke free.

Many local authorities have already taken a lead with the introduction of these smoking bans but it remains voluntary.

"The Government has made clear its intention to progress policies that reduce the prevalence of smoking amongst all ages," he said.

"I have made a particular point of stressing the need to stop children from ever starting to smoke in the first place and we pursue a policy of attempting to de-normalise smoking for young people.

"For that reason in future I will request that funding for projects such as children's playgrounds will be contingent on the relevant local authority implementing a policy of ensuring the projects are no smoking areas. The importance of de-normalising smoking in the eyes of children can't be over-emphasised."

The projects which benefited from the current round of funding include refurbishment and development of six urban, suburban and public housing play areas in Dublin city.

It is also going towards new, accessible equipment for a playground built in the 1970s in Athy, Kildare, as well as the creation of innovative, natural playground spaces and outdoor learning environments in Tyrrelstown, northwest Dublin.

Also benefiting are the development of a recreational space and multi-use games area for children in Newcastle West, Limerick, as well as the creation of several playgrounds and recreational spaces from green field sites.

Prof Luke Clancy, director general of the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland, welcomed the new 'no smoking' criteria, adding: "It should de-normalise smoking while preventing exposure to second hand smoke and prevention of litter."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section