THE LIMERICK skating community is seeking a meeting with the council to express safety concerns after new plans were announced to curb anti-social behaviour at the city’s riverside skatepark.
Former All-Ireland skate champion and Limerick city resident Roy O’Halloran says that the park is an amazing facility but notes that there are some major problems.
“Years ago, when I was twelve, a guy came up to me in the park and, out of the blue, pepper sprayed me and attacked me,” he told the Limerick Post.
Roy’s – and others’ – concerns stem from recently-announced council plans to put a high fence around the city skate park, leaving users “with only one way in and one way out”, he says.
“I was able to get away from that guy by just running out of the park. If there’s only one gate in and out, that’s putting people at risk.”
Roy – who works with young people professionally – and other skaters have been campaigning and talking to city council for some time about the existing facility and the need for more such parks – such as the one planned for Mungret.
“The (city) park is located in a place where people used to gather and drink,” Roy told the Limerick Post of ongoing anti-social behaviour at the quayside park. “They still do that but now they do it in the park.”
“We would prefer to see the money for the fence spent on other things for the park. There is a lot needs to be done in terms of refurbishment. For instance, there’s a rotting wooden ledge all around the park. If that was taken out and replaced with obstacles for skaters, it would discourage people from coming in and sitting on it to drink.”
“There have been a lot of incidents of older kids attacking younger kids,” Roy adds.
“I’ve been there a couple of times when that happened and I was able to intervene but if there was more traffic down there, that kind of thing would be visible and less likely to happen.”
Roy and the skating community would like to see the council reimagine the space around the park and incorporate things that would attract more pedestrian traffic, making the park safer and more visible.
In a bid to get more people walking by the river at that end of town. Roy suggests such facilities as outdoor exercise equipment.
“We need to do more to encourage people to come out in the city and enjoy it without having to spend money,” he said.
At present, there are plans to locate a dog park in the small green area outside the city skate park.