[Sinn Fein]

8th March 2002

MacManus calls for establishment of Playground Insurance Fund

Former Mayor and Sinn Fein candidate for Sligo-Leitrim Councillor Seán MacManus has called for the establishment of a special fund to cover the cost of public liability insurance for children's playgrounds.

Speaking to election workers in Dromore West, Ald. MacManus said: ``Community groups I work with here in Sligo tell me that, in addition to the difficulty in securing government funding for capital costs, the steep cost of insurance is the chief problem they face when trying to open playgrounds for our children. Local authorities also cite insurance costs as a major financial obstacle to providing for these essential facilities from our increasingly tighter budgets.''

MacManus expressed hope that the new policy on play and recreation expected from the National Children's Office in April will secure increased central government investment in playgrounds, and also provide practical solutions to help councils with the insurance issue. He said: ``Our towns are getting bigger, our gardens smaller, and our roads busier. Children's playgrounds are essential for our communities today. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says that children have a right to playgrounds. Therefore, I want to see any and all barriers to the provision of children's playgrounds removed as a matter of priority.''

MacManus concluded: ``Good government invests in children. Sinn Fein supports the provision of adequate recreation facilities for all children, as this has positive impact on many policy areas.

``Not only would I call on the next government to commit to a capital program for funding playgrounds, but also to establish a Playground Insurance Fund to cover these costs.''

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