New playgrounds opened in Newtownmountkennedy and Rathnew
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council John Ryan with the aid of the local children opens the new playground in Newtown (Pic.Michael Kelly)

Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council John Ryan with the aid of the local children opens the new playground in Newtown (Pic.Michael Kelly. More pics in next week's edition of Wicklow Times)

Two new playgrounds - in Newtownmountkennedy and Rathnew - were officially opened by Wicklow County Council last Tuesday.

Amongst the facilities provided for children in Newtownmountkennedy are zip wire, trampoline, swings, tunnel and playhouse while in Rathnew along with swings and a storytelling chair there is a Teen Area with kickabout, basketball, skate and BMX park, parkour and a 'hangout shelter'.

Performing the opening in Newtownmountkenned, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr John Ryan, wished the children and the whole community many happy days in the playground.
He added: "There was a time that children were to be seen and not heard and I'm glad to see that those times have changed. It is clear from the numbers here today that this facility is well loved already by the local children and it is great to see the children playing outside in a fun, safe environment."
He thanked Michael Lane and the Playground4Newtown committee who had worked tirelessly over the past number of years to ensure that a playground was developed for their children. The Council look forward to continuing this partnership.
Cllr Ryan said that in addition to playgrounds, Wicklow County Council was committed to making Wicklow a more child-friendly county by working to ensure that children can move and play in their neighbourhoods as safely as possible.
"In this sense, communities everywhere have a part to play in enabling children's play not only in the provision of playgrounds but in making sure that children can play in their neighbourhoods, by making the safety, mobility and play needs of children a priority," he stated.
Cllr Ryan also thanked his fellow councillors for their foresight in adopting the Special Development Levy Contribution Scheme, through which funding for the project was provided.
Mr Des O'Brien, Deputy Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, said the playground in Newtownmountkennedy was the result of an approach made to the Council in 2011 by a local committee, Playground4Newtown, chaired by Michael Lane. The Council purchased the land from the Diocese and gained the full cooperation of the Board of Management of the National Schools for the project.
The Playground4Newtown Committee, he said, was made up of a dynamic group of local people who work tirelessly on behalf of their community.
"It is inspiring to see the number of people who work so hard in a voluntary capacity to improve the quality of life in their community. It is a proud day for you today," he added.
Mr O'Brien also paid tribute to the contractor, Brian McKee and All Play Ltd, for delivering the facility and said that Mr McKee had contributed money for the local committee to host a Family Fun Day in the playground later in the year.
He also thanked the Council's Strategic Policy Committee for Community Cultural and Social Development, chaired by Councillor Jim Ruttle, and also Director of Service, Michael Nicholson and the staff of Community, Cultural & Social Development section.
Performing the opening of the new playground and teen recreational facility in Rathnew, Cllr Ryan said the playground was a very practical expression of the Council's recognition of the importance of play in the lives of children.
"Play is a natural way to support developmental learning in young children; to improve their cognitive and physical skills; and to help them learn how to co-operate with one another - how to take turns, to be part of a team and to make friends," he said.
Wicklow County Council's Play Policy and the Playground Development Programme came about as result of children making their voices heard and the fact that politicians and policymakers are listening to what they have to say.
Particular emphasis, he said, was given to progression of play in the Rathnew facility which caters not only for the younger children but the teenagers also with the addition of the BMX/skatepark, parkour elements and teenage hangout shelter.
Mr Des O'Brien, Deputy Chief Executive, said the Council was committed to the development of healthy communities in which children could play, grow and learn in safe environments adding: "We need to see playgrounds and other recreational centres as organic parts of our environment and to promote continuous improvements in their design."
Paying tribute to the contractor, Ronnie McKee and his team at Play and Leisure Services Ltd, for their work he announced that Mr McKee had contributed money for the local committee to host a Family Fun Day in the Rathnew playground later in the year as well.
He said he had no doubt that the facility would provide plenty of fun and enjoyment for the children and teenagers of Rathnew and surrounding areas for many years to come.