Petition started by mother to install a playground in Emo Court in Laois

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Emo Court, Laois

Emo Court, Laois

A petition has been started by a mother living in Laois to get a playground built in the county's top visitor destination.

Portarlington resident Rachel Redmond has got almost 200 names on her petition, though some commenters have disagreed with her proposal.

Ms Redmond is asking the public to sign the online petition that she is directing to Laois County council and to the Office of Public Works.

"This would be a beautiful addition to the park and be very welcomed by local parents. Children learn so much from the time spent socialising and sharing with other children at a young age, it would be a great opportunity to assist the local community," she said on the petition on Change.org, called “Opw: Kids Play Ground for Emo Park”.

"Emo Park has beautiful gardens, house and a lake but no playground for our children to run and play safely. With the size of Emo it could easily support a playground for children. Plenty of families enjoy the walks around the lake and visiting Emo House but it would entice more families with the added amienty of a playground...Its coffee shop and Emo house would benefit from the playground as more families would visit the park and there would be passing trade for both the house and coffee shop," the petition creator said.

"The lake alone is located within the grounds of Emo House and Gardens. The lake has 
a surface area of 24 acres.  Please sign the petition so the OPW will give our children a playground in one of the best Parks in Laois," Ms Redmond said.

She has gained 199 signatures since the petition started on July 18.

Jennifer Tipping is among them, commenting "it would be a great addition to this wonderful place".

Some local online commentors are not in favour, including Darragh Ó hAoileáin.

"Why do you need a children's playground at Emo Court? Sure isn't the entire estate is one big playground. My kids love going there to run around and climb things and go bug hunting to name a few. Its a national heritage site and should be preserved as such. Open a playground in the village adjacent by all means but preserve Emo Court as is for future generations," he said.

Emo Court house and grounds was gifted to the Irish state by owner Major Cholmeley Harrison. The House and gardens are the responsibility of the OPW, with the wooded grounds owned by Coillte.

A playground for Emo was mentioned several times in Laois County Council meetings by councillors in the past decade, with the suggestion to place it near the front gate for village children to use, using natural materials in keeping with surroundings. 

In 2012, Cllr Tom Mulhall welcomed plans for an all weather pitch and running track, saying "down the road we will look at a park and a playground". 

View the petition here.