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Council Agree to Trial Autism-Friendly Communication Boards in Carrigaline Playground

Writes Ciaran Dineen

It has been announced that the Carrigaline Playground is set to be used as a trial for the installation of ASD Communication Boards, following on from a motion raised by Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) in 2020.

The news came during February’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), which took place virtually on Monday afternoon. These autism-friendly communication boards encourage greater inclusion in playgrounds and Cork County Council previously indicated that they would be interested in trialing the equipment in an initial location before wider implementation.

In December’s MD meeting Cllr Dalton O’Sullivan raised the prospect of Carrigaline’s playground being used as the trial setting, stating at the time that it could be a huge success and “would be very much welcomed by parents and families of children with ASD in Carrigaline and surrounding areas. As a Municipal District, I believe we can and should be leading the way in Cork for disability and age-friendly inclusion by adapting our facilities where possible.”

It was agreed that the MD would put Carrigaline forward for consideration at the subsequent meeting of the Social Inclusion, Community and Rural Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC), who would have the final say.

This week councillors received correspondence indicating that the SPC had agreed to select Carrigaline for the trial, with the ASD equipment set to be installed hopefully in the early to mid weeks of March.

All public representatives welcomed the news, particularly Cllr Dalton O’Sullivan who told The Carrigdhoun Newspaper; I’m delighted that Cork County Council have progressed my suggestion to install a communications board at Carrigaline Playground so quickly.”

“I believe this will be a fantastic addition to the playground and help make it more inclusive for people with autism. I’m very happy that Carrigaline will be the pilot for this. I will be raising a motion at the next full meeting of the County council to get this rolled out county-wide if it proves successful. This will be very welcome for Carrigaline Playground.”

While delighted with the news, Councillor Seámus McGrath (FF) did however stress a point that he has previously raised, arguing his belief that it is time the overall playground should be considered for regeneration given that it has now been open over nearly two decades. He added, “the playground in Carrigaline has become dated and while the ASD equipment is very very welcome, a wider upgrade is required.”

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