Council Briefs: Promoting Fairtrade in Finglas, and a New Playground in Kilmore West

Council to Identify a Site for a Playground in Kilmore West

Local councillors are pushing for the council to build a new playground for kids living in Kilmore West, in Coolock, but an official council response says it’s not a high priority because most people can walk to playgrounds in neighbouring areas.

Independent Councillor John Lyons tabled a motion calling on the council to provide a playground for the area and saying that he had got contradictory responses in the past as to whether the council acknowledged the need for one.

Lyons says in the motion that he was told in 2017 that Kilmore West didn’t need a playground but in 2021 that it did.

“Young people in Kilmore West are deserving of a playground,” said Lyons, at a meeting of the council’s North Central Area Committee on Monday 21 March.

The other playgrounds are either not within walking distance, he says, or it is not safe for children to walk to them as they would have to cross main roads.

The council response says that there are playgrounds in nearby Santry Demesne, Ellenfield Park, Stardust Park and Bunratty Road, and four playlots at Cromcastle.

“The majority of residences in the area are within 20–25 minutes’ walk of one of these playgrounds,” it says.

“While there is not a playground located in the immediate vicinity the area was not identified as an area of deficit in recent assessments and would be considered lower priority for the delivery of a new playground at this time,” says the response.

Despite the council’s response, councillors unanimously backed the call for a playground for the area.

“There should be a play area within easy walking access of every child in this city,” said Green Party Councillor Donna Cooney.

They mightn’t seem far on a map, but kids can’t walk to any of the other playgrounds, she says, and there are a lot of children living in Kilmore West.

Fianna Fáil Councillor Racheal Batten said Kilmore West could probably use two or three playgrounds because there are so many children living there. “I don’t think we can undervalue how much it contributes to an area.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Micheál MacDonncha said there is plenty of green space in the area that could be used for a playground.

Social Democrats Councillor Patricia Roe asked the acting area manager to identify a possible site for a playground in Kilmore West.

“I suppose we can look at possible sites with the parks department,” said Derek Farrell. “It’s a matter of getting funding.”

There are other parks in the area that need to be upgraded, he said. The new playground might have to be paid for out of the discretionary budget, he said.

Lyons said that, “The response contradicts best practice from your dwelling to a playground.”

A council report, Pollinating Play, published in 2021 says that a good level of community access means there should be a playground within a five- to 10-minute walk.

The report says that the council aims to provide “Fully equipped play facilities within 10 minutes walking distance from home and in areas with high population of children under 14 years.”

Calls for Finglas to Become a “Fairtrade Town”

Local councillors are calling for Finglas to become a “Fairtrade Town”.

The Germany-based nonprofit Fairtrade International gives its mark to products that have been produced to certain social, environmental and economic standards.

A “Fairtrade Town” is one that has taken a set of actions to, basically, raise awareness of the Fairtrade mark and make Fairtrade products available to buy locally.

This, says Fairtrade Ireland’s website, helps “tackling poverty by enabling disadvantaged producers from poor countries to receive a better deal”.

Ireland has more than 50 Fairtrade towns, according to the website, including neighbouring Ballymun.

On 15 March Green Party Councillor Caroline Conroy proposed a motion which was agreed by councillors at a meeting of their North West Area Committee.

The council should “put in place the steps needed to make Finglas a Fairtrade Town, with the hope of this extending to the whole of Dublin North West”, says Conroy’s motion.

Dublin City Council will liaise with Fairtrade Ireland to see if this is feasible, says a response from area manager, Mick Carroll.

Speaking by phone on Tuesday 22 March, Conroy said it was the success of the initiative in Ballymun that prompted her to call for the status for Finglas.

She attended a meeting in Ballymun during Fairtrade Fortnight, which ran from 22 February to 7 March, she says, and she was impressed that the locals at the event were very knowledgeable about Fairtrade. “It was excellent,” she says.

The Fairtrade Town status means that shops are encouraged to stock Fairtrade products and the council rolls out educational initiatives, she says.

“Out of that education, the farmers in developing countries get supported through the sale of their products,” she says. “Then you know, as the consumer, what you are getting and you know you are supporting worker’s rights.”

Some companies make it look like they are sourcing products ethically when really they are not, she says.

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Laoise Neylon: Laoise Neylon is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer. You can reach her at [email protected]

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