Joe O’Brien welcomes consultation on long-awaited Fingal play strategy for children

20th July, 2021

A play strategy has been advocated for by Minister O’Brien since 2019

Minister Joe O’Brien today welcomed the opening of a public consultation on the proposed policy on play provision for young people in Fingal – “Space for Play – A Play Policy for Fingal”.

The Play Policy is intended to guide current and future play provision throughout the County. The consultation process will provide an opportunity for all residents to review the proposed policy and to make comments or suggest changes. The policy has been developed by Fingal County Council’s Parks & Green Infrastructure Division and aims to provide a framework for the provision of safe, accessible, inclusive, natural, and engaging play spaces for all children & adolescents up to the age of 17.

Speaking today, Minister O’Brien said:

“I very much welcome this consultation and would really encourage residents to make a submission and let the Council know their thoughts on the provision of play spaces in the County. Fingal does not have sufficient play areas to cater for our young people – this is something that needs to be actively addressed by Fingal County Council in the coming years, particularly in light of Fingal having the youngest population of any local authority area.

This is an issue I have been raising for a number of years – in 2019 in response to queries from communities in Fingal for new playgrounds for their children, I conducted some research on how Fingal performs nationally in terms of its number of playgrounds in the context of the very young population of the county. I found that Fingal rated 26th of 31 local authorities in the country for access to playgrounds per child.

Census 2016 recorded 25,000 children under 4 years old in the county, and this number is going to increase in coming years, and our play infrastructure needs to be boosted accordingly. I asked for the development of a play strategy for the County at that time and I’m very pleased to see the development of the “Space for Play – A Play Policy for Fingal” move to a public consultation stage today.

There is much to welcome in the policy document, particularly the focus on accessibility and inclusivity of play spaces for all children. Our play areas should cater to all children, including those with different physical and sensory abilities.  There is also a welcome recognition of the need to integrate the natural environment and biodiverse habitats into play areas – an appreciation of being in nature and an understanding of the natural world is something we should seek to encourage at every age.

Playgrounds are not the only type of public infrastructure that can support play and recreation – parks, sports facilities, walking routes and greenways all have a very important role to play in the physical and mental well-being of young people.

I hope that in their submissions local residents will join me in calling on Fingal County Council to improve on the number of playgrounds and other recreational facilities we have, to give our children more opportunities to play outdoors for the betterment of their physical and mental health.”

Link to public consultation on play policy for Fingal: