kilkenny Borough Council is to explore the possibility of developing new recreational amenities for young teenagers in or adjacent to housing estates in the city.
At a meeting of the borough council last week, Councillor Betty Manning (FG) put forward a Notice of Motion proposing that basketball courts might be put in place where appropriate, and where space was available. She said that young teenagers in Kilkenny are lacking designated areas close to their homes in which to socialise.
“This is for an age group that see themselves as too old for kids’ playgrounds,” she said.
“They would not even have to be full courts, but a half-court maybe. It would allow 11 to 15-year-olds to hang out in their own neighbourhood.”
Cllr Manning said that the motion was particularly important against a backdrop of increasing levels of obesity and the social isolation of some young people who spend a lot of time on the internet.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan (Green Party) seconded the motion. He said that the council should support it, and that it was part of a discussion of policy on youth facilities.
“This goes back to wider issues,” he said.
“Here we are: 2012, and still no skatepark.”
Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) said he would like to support the cause, but that it should be expanded beyond basketball courts by consulting teenagers about what they would like to see.
“I think this is a huge issue in terms of facilities for young people,” he said.
“It’s not just about a skatepark or basketball. We need to engage with young people and ask for realistic proposals from them.”