Joan Burton Calls for rethink over Children’s Playground at Farmleigh

oan Burton TD has said that she is very disappointed with the approach of Minister of State Tom Parlon TD to the issue of locating a Children’s playground at Farmleigh Estate. Despite giving Deputy Burton assurances that the issue would be examined, Minister Parlon has now stated that a playground will not be built at Farmleigh.

Deputy Burton recently had discussions with Minister of State Tom Parlon TD, Minister in charge of the Office of Public Works and the Head of the OPW Commissioners to ask them to re-consider the question of locating a state of the art children’s playground somewhere in the grounds of Farmleigh or at the top end of the Phoenix Park.

She suggested that a playground in the style of Malahide, Marley or Newbridge House should be built. This could be accommodated in one small area of the grounds, adjacent to the Phoenix Park, where it could remain open all year round, regardless of whether or not important visitors where using the State Guest House facilities. The benefit of this would be that the venue could be safely closed at night and preserved from the kind of mindless vandalism which has destroyed so many open playgrounds.

Joan Burton said that by and large, visitors to Farmleigh were delighted with the facility. It has become one of the OPW’s most popular public attractions, visited now by many thousands of people per year.

Unfortunately, in reply to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy Burton, Minster Parlon has claimed that as Farmleigh is used for Government functions it would not represent the best use of resources to build a playground there. He cited security reasons and the fact that the Estate must often be closed at short notice as the reasons why Farmleigh would not be a suitable venue

Deputy Burton replied, that at this point in the time, given the success of the venue, it should be possible for the OPW to look at installing some Child attractions for the venue. This has been possible in many other European cities, where community facilities operate within State properties.

“If a playground was located at Farmleigh, at the North West end of the Phoenix Park, it would offer an enormous resource to children and their parents in the Dublin 15 area, which currently has no children’s playgrounds, despite having a population in excess of 70,000.”

Joan Burton said that with all of the new house building going on in the area, the provision of children’s playgrounds was an urgent priority. While Fingal County Council has budgets now for several years for 2 Children’s playgrounds, 1 at the Millennium Park and 1 at the Tolka valley, the progress on both was taking years, if not decades to achieve.

“In the context of a shortage of land to develop these community facilities, Farmleigh would represent an ideal location. It is unfortunate that Minister Parlon seems to have casually dismissed this solution.”