“We have to stop treating young people like an issue for the future – they need us most today.”

Our local councils must up their game when it comes to play, sport and recreational amenities for young people who make up a third of the population, the Social Democrats said today.

The party today launches our Community Recreation Manifesto for local government aimed at creating more dedicated and imaginative services and amenities young people.

The party’s co-leader, Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy said:

“With cutbacks in recent years there has not been nearly enough investment in facilities and services for young people. Councils have to up their game and come up with imaginative alternatives for the 1.3 million people aged under 18 in the country.

“This means maximising existing Council resources like empty or underused buildings, making schools available for after-hours community use, and making the most of council community and sports support workers. Our Councillors will also push for imaginative alternatives for young people who don’t engage in mainstream sports and activities.”

Local election candidate for Clane, Aidan Farrelly, who is himself an experienced youth worker, added:

“Kildare has the highest percentage of people aged up to 24 years in the country – 37% of its population. Despite this, children and young people throughout Kildare are left without playgrounds, youth clubs, counselling services or simply a place to hang out with their friends in a safe, fun environment. We have to stop treating young people like an issue for the future – they need us most today.

“The Social Democrats’ proposals are about supporting young people as part of an integrated approach to recreation for all. There are many simple ideas that we could draw on, and we also need to maximise the funding of community facilities, such as swimming pools, skate parks and robust activity areas through the Sports Capital Programme.

The Social Democrats are running a total of six candidates for Kildare County Council in the local elections on 24th May. These are:

  • Bill Clear, Naas
  • Aidan Farrelly, Clane
  • Samantha Kenny, Athy
  • Nuala Killeen, Lexlip
  • Stephen Marken, Celbridge
  • Chris Pender, Newbridge

The Social Democrats’ manifesto Investing In Play, Sport and Recreation includes:

  • Build more playgrounds, particularly in counties with high population growth.
  • Provide extra community facilities for young people, including alternative services for those who don’t engage in mainstream sports and activities.
  • Ensure every significant population base has its own community centre.
  • Use the Sports Capital Grants Programme to provide an open access Multi-Use Games Area pitch in every community.
  • Increase the number of parks with street lighting to facilitate safe jogging.
  • Expand public allotments and community gardens and libraries.
  • Support local arts groups and festivals and address escalating insurance costs faced by such events.
  • Maximise playing time for local sports clubs on Council pitches.

Investing in Play, Sport and Recreation: The Social Democrats Community Recreation Manifesto for Local Government is available for download here.


17th May 2019