Sport groups face higher fees to use popular parks

Cormac Murphy

SPORTS groups including Bootcamp Ireland and Fitsquad will have to pay more for using Dublin's public parks.

The city council has decided to increase the charges as the parks are becoming increasingly crowded. Other activities affected are popular team sports like tag rugby and organised Pilates and yoga sessions.

The use of public green areas has been regulated since last summer when the council brought in permits for "commercial fitness groups".

However, the council said: "There has been a large increase in the number of fitness groups requesting the use of parks, particularly Bushy and Herbert Parks."

A report will be considered by the local authority's leisure committee chair Gerry Breen (FG) and other councillors at their forthcoming meeting.

Fitness groups have been using council land as training areas.

"Initially, the number of groups involved was small... However, in more recent years, the numbers increased," council administrative officer Grainne Kelly said in a report.

Last February, a review took place of the groups using parks during the summer. It highlighted complaints from the public about overuse by some of the larger groups.

As a result, the council said "a more appropriate charge to reflect the commercial nature of these businesses" was needed.

This summer, the council will enforce a reduction in the number of sports groups using parks, particularly high demand parks such as Herbert and Bushy Park.

There will also be a cap on the numbers participating in each session. In addition, specific areas are now designated for use by the various groups.

In high demand parks during evenings and weekends, a charge of €3 per person per class is to apply.

Outside these times, a reduction in the charge to €2 per person per class is to apply.In low demand parks, a flat charge of €2 will apply.

For team sports such as tag rugby, a charge of €15 per team will be levied.