A senior Kildare County Council official has defended Council staff after criticism by a councillor about what she claimed was a delay in delivering local playgrounds in Newbridge and other areas.
Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy insisted that new playground facilities in Newbridge, Two Mile House, the Curragh Camp and Athgarvan should be delivered within four years.
At the Kildare-Newbridge municipal district meeting on December 15, the politician had called on municipal district councillors to “consider allocating the €100,000 allocated for a youth amenity to a playground for Newbridge, identified and highlighted in the council’s Play Strategy as a known need, and seek clarity as to where the remaining funding might come from if we are to have a chance of the project being completed within the next few years.”
The Council responded: “€50,000 has been allocated for 2021 and €250,000 in 2022 for an additional playground. These figures are subject to confirmation in the Capital Programme that will be presented to members as part of the annual budget.”
At the same meeting, Cllr McLoughlin Healy also called on the Municipal District to commit to adding sufficient LPT funding to any capital funding agreed to ensure the delivery of playgrounds the Council has identified are needed across the district.
The councillor added that the delivery of a playground in Newbridge should be a priority and the delivery of playgrounds in Two Mile House, the Curragh Camp and Athgarvan should also be delivered by the end of the Council’s term in 2024.
In a written response to the meeting, Senior Executive Parks Superintendent in the Economic, Community and Cultural Development Department, Simon Wallace replied that the allocation of LPT for playgrounds is a matter for members but in addition to funding, suitable sites would also have to be identified.
He added that any work would also have to be considered in the context of commitments to existing projects and the staff resources to deliver them.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Wallace added that his Department has not seen a demand for a playground in Two Mile House.
He continued: “There has to be realism on what we can deliver. We’re not sitting upstairs with our feet up on our desks. We’re also dealing with day to day issues and we’re trying to deliver projects across five municipal districts. I don’t want the message to go out that we’re trying to frustrate people when we’re all trying to do our best.”