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New play park for Newtownhamilton should open by April and be ‘accessible to all’

Public praised for passion as councillor vows to ensure it will be 'accessible for all'

A modern new play park should be in placed in Newtownhamilton by April of next year.

And extra money is to be sought to ensure it is a modern and fit for purpose facility which meets the needs of all users.

Originally due for completion in 2020, Newtownhamilton has been fast-tracked due to rural development funding recently secured by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

A public meeting was held in Newtown this week to ascertain residents’ views on various issues.

Those gathered discussed the merits of two sites – the Youth Club on the Dundalk Road and Jim Steen Park in Dungormley Estate.

Sinn Fein Councillor Barra Ó Muirí praised the local community for their passion in discussing the type of play park they want for their area and, crucially, where it is to be located.

He also said that the provision of a park which was accessible to all had highlighted issues of concern.

Councillor Ó Muirí said: “There were many views and opinions heard, but everyone agreed that the most important thing was that the new play park would be fit for purpose and accessible to all.

“The issue of the lack of play facilities for children with additional needs was discussed. It was pointed out by officials present that to install specialist play equipment for children might mean the park being without a slide, such would be the expense.

“However myself and many others felt that a play park built to a standard that ensures it is accessible to all to enjoy should not curtail the provision of equipment on a matter of cost, and I will ensure the feelings of many on this issue are conveyed to council.”

Councillor Ó Muirí proposed that council officials carry out an audit of specialist play facilities in the Slieve Gullion DEA area, and consider providing additional funding to make the new play park in Newtown accessible for all.

“Every child deserves a play park, a place to explore, develop and have fun,” he added.

“The people of Newtown have waited a long time for a play park that is fit for purpose, and now that we have the opportunity to design it, we want to get it right – a play area to be fit for purpose and enjoyed by all.”

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