The Mayor of Fingal has called for universally accessible play equipment to be installed in Newbridge and Ardgillan playgrounds “before the end of 2022.”
Fingal Mayor, Cllr Seána Ó’Rodaigh said her motion, which was tabled at a recent Local Area Committee meeting, related to the “great success” of a recently installed ‘We-Go-Swing’ at Millennium Park, Dublin 15.
The ‘We-Go-Swing’, she said, was accessible to children with mobility issues or who were in wheelchairs, and was unique in that it was for the use of children of “all abilities.”
Cllr Ó’Rodaigh said she was “extremely disappointed” with a report issued by the council in response to her motion.
She “could not accept”, she said, there would need to be an enlargement of Newbridge and Ardgillan playgrounds to accommodate the ‘We-Go-Swing’, and suggested the council might remove existing equipment to allow for the swings to be installed.
Asking children with mobility issues to wait until the playgrounds were enlarged was “not a good message to be giving out”, she said.
Cllr Ó’Rodaigh said she wanted to know how usability and play value of the swings would be assessed in Millennium Park, before installation in other playgrounds.
Responding to Cllr Ó’Rodaigh, a council official said she “did not mean for the answer to be a negative message”, and that “quite a bit of time” had been allocated to the installation of the equipment in Millennium Park.
The new equipment cost €35,000, she said, and the council wished to assess the usability of the equipment and if it was in fact “fun” for children to use.
Fingal County Council was “really enthusiastic” about the equipment in Millennium Park, the official added, and would “love to see one everywhere.”
The official said that while she could not guarantee the equipment would be made available in Newbridge and Ardgillan playgrounds this year, it was the council’s intention to ‘retrofit’ once it had completed its assessment in Millennium Park.
The report noted: ‘The area required for this unit was considerable and all other locations would require an enlargement of the existing playground boundary.
‘Once the initial installation at Millennium Park was assessed for usability and play value, other locations will be considered where space allows.’
Cllr Ó’Rodaigh accepted the report.