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Close off city roads and let children play

CHILDREN will be able to reclaim their neighbourhoods if a proposed council initiative is introduced.

The pilot scheme, which is to be tried and tested by Dublin City Council, will see temporary road closures being put in place in selected areas so that children can play in their neighbourhoods safely.

The idea, which was put forward by Councillor Deirdre Heney (FF), would mirror a similar recent experiment in parts of the UK.

Cllr Heney argued that she believes the scheme, known as a 'Temporary Play Street Order', would bring about a much-needed sense of community at a time when children are becoming increasingly obsessed with technology.

She said the scheme would create a safe environment that would bring together entire communities.

Other councillors told how they believe it would 'humanise areas' as 'roads don't only have to be used for traffic'.

Councillor Mannix Flynn (Ind) said the scheme has worked extremely well in the UK and there is nothing preventing the council from introducing it in the capital.

"This is a hugely important scheme. There are so many cars on the road and we don't see as many children playing out anymore. It's something that should be taken seriously," he said.

Echoing Cllr Flynn, Councillor Damien Farrell (Ind) said the scheme has the potential to salvage a 'lost generation' because 'children are playing outside less and less'.

Councillor Oisin Quinn (Lab) has described the scheme as "a great idea".

He said: "It's definitely the case that children find the roads intimidating. Something like this would humanise areas and would be great for the summer months."

However, Councillor Padraig McLoughlin (Lab) argued that despite its positives, the scheme could prove costly and time consuming.

He stressed that although he understands the sentiment behind the idea, it would require "intensive manpower" to ensure it ran smoothly.

In response to councillors, traffic chief Michael Phillips said the council would not have a problem with the implementation of such a scheme.


"The closing and opening of roads would have to be carefully marshalled. We don't have a problem of testing this out as a pilot scheme," Mr Phillips said.

He added that the council will examine plans to select an area in the capital to test out the scheme as part of a year-long trial.

If the plan is successful, residents who want to adopt the scheme in their area will be invited to make an annual application to hold 'Playing Out' sessions once a month.