Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly TD, that €15,000 has been allocated to improve the playground at the Peoples Park in Athy as part of funding for play and recreation projects across the Country.

“I know there were a lot of applications for the Recreation Capital Grants Scheme so I am delighted that €15,000 has been set aside for the children of Athy.This is a great boost which will allow the facilities for families in Athy to be improved and increase use of the popular People’s Park which was built in the 1970’s. The funds will go towards the upgrade of the public playground, including the provision of additional equipment in the playground.

“The summertime is upon us and, weather permitting, families are spending a lot of time at playgrounds, in parks or at the beach. Safe and fun play areas are a major draw to any town and they are a wonderful facility for children and parents alike.

“It is also extremely important that these areas are healthy environments for our children and with this in mind, Minister Reilly has stated that in future, applications for funding will face an additional criterion related to Tobacco Free Ireland. In order to prevent children from ever starting to smoke it is essential that we denormalise smoking and therefore funding for projects such as children’s playgrounds will be contingent on the relevant local authority implementing a policy of ensuring the projects are no smoking areas.

“Nationally €250,000 has been allocated to a variety of worthy projects; this money is being used to bring old play areas back into use, to rejuvenate housing estates and to introduce new and innovative facilities.

“This Government is focused on achieving growth by creating jobs in all regions of the country, but growth and recovery can also be seen as investment made in our towns and villages. The funding announced this week is a small, but significant step in improving facilities for the locals of Athy as we move towards recovery.”