Skater showing skills at the opening of Portlaoise's skate park . Picture: Terry Conroy
Hundreds of people in a large Laois town have signed a new online petition to get a skate park.
Local mother Claire Shiels has started the petition to Laois County Council to get a skate park for Portarlington and within three days it has 250 signatures.
"I have three children, aged 12, 9 and 5 and all three are extremely interested in skating. At the moment we go to Portlaoise, Tullamore and as far as Newbridge and Naas. Portlaoise is pretty crowded, we also meet several families from Portarlington there. We meet the same skaters who travel to towns to skate and a lot are extremely talented.
"Cllr Aidan Mullins submitted a motion to Laois County Council but their opinion was skate parks are mostly idle, that is not the case at all. If we had one in Portarlington it would definitely not be lying idle and families would not have to travel.
"During the lockdown I think we all gave our kids more time on things like the X-box and it's not good. This keeps kids outside, they have a passion for it and it's good for their mental health. You can see how much joy there is in children as well as the competitive side. There is a big call for it. We are looking for a suitable site and we are open to talking to Offaly County Council as well if there is anywhere on the Offaly side of Portarlington," she said.
Portarlington is the second biggest town in Laois after Portlaoise where the council has a skate park at Portlaoise Leisure Centre.
On Claire's petition, she asks for people to sign it.
"We are seeking support and measuring interest in a campaign to have a skate park built in our town. Skate parks offer our kids and young adults a structured way of enjoying their activity outdoors in a safer and less anti social environment . We are looking to engage with Laois County Council to identify a suitable place and source funding to enhance our young peoples ability to partake in an outdoor activity with other like minded people which will also help them socially engage with their peers," she said.