Senator Mark Wall has called for greater investment in our towns and villages, citing the positive impact of town planners in towns like Westport.
Senator Wall said:
“We need more resources and facilities at a local level. If we are going to reimagine our towns and villages we need to ensure that the social contract is at the heart of this and that town and county plans reflect what communities need. This includes things like playing fields, pitches and parks. We need to ensure that communities have public hubs where people can bring their dog for a walk or practice their soccer skills. Take Newbridge for example, for a town with 23,000 people there is only one playground. It’s just not acceptable in 2021 that community resources could be so sparse. This should be the work of town councils and instead, much of what keeps our communities vibrant has fallen to community volunteers themselves.
“Tidy Towns do huge work in their communities to keep their local areas vibrant and buzzing but they need more support. Most of the Tidy Towns committees are made up of three or four people. They need Government investment to ensure that their towns are presented in the best way.
“There’s also a huge issue with integration. We’re here in Athy today which went from a population of approx. 4,000 to almost 11,000 within 10 years. When I knock on doors during election time, there’s still people that tell me they leave their home at six o’clock in the morning and they don’t get home until seven o’clock in the evening. Then, they’re up in Dublin visiting friends and families at the weekend. So they’re not integrating within their community, they don’t have an opportunity to do so. We’re calling for Government to ensure that integration is fast tracked, and that can be done through extra community facilities like parks, pitches and playgrounds.
“We need a New Deal for our towns and villages – one that revitalises and empowers communities to create thriving areas where people can live, work and prosper.”