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Skatepark Lights ‘Unnecessary’ Say Council

Writes Ciaran Dineen

The proposal for lights to be installed in the hugely successful Skatepark in Carrigaline have been dealt a big blow, as they were deemed ‘unnecessary and impractical’ by Cork County Council.

The statement was released in a written response to motions put forward by Councillor Liam O’Connor (FG) and Councillor Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) at the latest meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) in County Hall last week.

Both Councillors had been approached by youth worker and user of the Skatepark, Jamie O’Leary, who gained significant support on social media when he called for the installation of lights in the area.

As was included in the motion from Cllr O’Connor, the lights would be a benefit for those that would like to use the important facility during the winter months of the year as the days begin to shorten.

However, in response to the motions Cork County Council claimed that “installing lighting at this location is unnecessary and impractical for reasons of cost, precedent and ongoing health and safety”. They also highlighted that prior to the construction of the skatepark, consideration on the installation of lights had been made. There was no indication in the response that a re-consideration would take place in the future.

This came as disappointing news to the Councillors, with Cllr O’Connor arguing that the amenity is probably the most widely used facility shared between youths and young adults in Carrigaline and that for kids finishing school at 4pm, it will no longer be a place where they will be able to go as the days get shorter. “Every other sport facility is facilitated with lighting and this should not be any different”, noted the Councillor.

Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan made a request for a detailed report on the decision taken by the Council and for further explanations to be given. Councillor Seamus McGrath (FF) indicated that earlier in the year he had called for lighting and CCTV to be implemented around the skatepark, arguing that a project as successful as the skatepark has been, should warrant additional resources.

Responding to these queries Council Officers agreed to the request for a more detailed report and suggested that there were many different factors that would come into play in any decision on lighting, such as shadowing, ice, gritting etc.

Jamie O’Leary of Carrigaline was very disappointed to hear the decision made by the Council, going on to suggest that the impact of such could have a very negative impact on the town.

Speaking to The Carrigdhoun Newspaper the UCC student said, “even though you can still use the park while it’s dark it’s dangerous. The young people who do use it have nowhere to go and this will cause them to use spots that have lights and they would get in trouble with the law and with the people who either use or own those businesses.”

As someone who works with the youth in the community and uses the facility, Jamie knows first-hand how important the skatepark has been in promoting a healthy and safe environment for teenagers to mix together. “The council don’t understand how beneficial it would be for the young people”, Jamie stresses. “I have had conversations with young people saying that the skatepark was their life as it would be if it was a soccer or GAA pitch that was closed.”

An update should be provided at the October meeting of the MD.

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