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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 23 September, 2019

'It's devastating for us': Tiny Carlow village forced to close its park just before Christmas

It was forced to close down after it received a hefty insurance bill.

Image: Google Maps

TINRYLAND IS A small village around 5km south of Carlow town.

Locals managed to fundraise six years ago to create what has been one of its only amenities – its park. It has an astro pitch, a tennis court and a children’s playground.

This month, however, it has been forced to close its doors to the public after at the time of its insurance policy renewal it was met with a bill that was quadruple the previous premium.

Jim Deane is a local councillor who is one of the voluntary directors of the park.

He told that there is “tireless work” ongoing to try to save the park but that it was unfortunately closed for the time being.

“There’s a claim pending,” Deane explained. “It’s very disappointing. This is a community park, and not a profit-making facility.”

He outlined how the whole community got involved to make the park a reality back in 2012, with everyone “taking money from [their] pockets”.

The councillor described the park as a “lovely facility” and that people come from all around to visit. It is used often by the local national school, and has memorials dedicated to some of those from the area who have died.

The village has had the park nominated for awards since it first opened its doors, and Deane said it’s a source of pride to many in Tinryland.

The decision to close the park came as a blow. In a Facebook post notifying people of its closure, one responded: “A terrible loss for our community.”

Another said: “Good luck to all involved, very harsh and sad to be hit with such a massive obstacle for such a lovely hard fought for amenity for the community.”

“The first we knew about the increase was when the policy was due to be renewed,” Deane said. “It’s gone from over €2,000 to over €8,000. We just don’t have that kind of money.

We paid our premiums thinking it would protect us in events like this. We didn’t think we’d be punished for providing the community with a fantastic place to come to.

While usually local fundraising would be for purchasing things, but the councillor said it was likely they may have to fundraise to raise the money to pay for the insurance. 

Deane said they were currently engaging with brokers to try to source a better quote but it was proving difficult because of the pending case.

He said: “We’re doing our best, but it’s very stressful. There are three voluntary directors aside from myself.

We are concentrating on the park, but we should be concentrating on our family at Christmas. People come to this park from everywhere. We’ve only a small village and it’s a shame if we lost this great thing.

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Sean Murray

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