Dublin City Councillor Deirdre Heney has confirmed that plans are underway to introduce ‘play orders’ in the city, which would see residential roads closed off to traffic for short periods to allow children to play outdoors and neighbours to get to know one another.

The initiative, which was proposed by Cllr Heney in 2013, has now been progressed to pilot stage. Clancarthy Road in Donnycarney has been chosen as the location for the trial.

Cllr Heney explained, “It’s an unfortunate reality of city life that it’s no longer safe for children to go out to play on the street. People don’t get to know their neighbours the way they used to, and many feel they are missing out on that sense of community that used to be so strong in city neighbourhoods.

“The idea of these ‘play orders’ is to give city neighbourhoods a couple of hours every month or two to get out of their homes, meet their neighbours and allow their children to play on the street without safety concerns. The street, or a portion of it, would be closed to traffic for a couple of hours, creating a safe environment that would bring together the local community.

“I first called for this in February 2013 following the success of a similar initiative in Bristol in England. My proposal received the full backing of Dublin City Council at the time, and I am delighted to confirm that the project is now progressing to pilot stage in my own constituency of Dublin Bay North.

“Children are becoming increasingly addicted to technology and there are often little outdoor play options for those living in the city. This scheme worked extremely well in Bristol in helping to get children, who otherwise were stuck indoors, out to play. The project has also been extremely successful at recapturing that sense of community in city areas.

“All too often, those of living in busy city suburbs go about our daily lives without getting to know our neighbours. All of us would benefit from greater interaction with those who live right beside us. I am hopeful that creating ‘play friendly’ streets will provide us with an opportunity to do just that. Last week, council officials conducted a site visit of the trial location at Clancarthy Road. Following this trial, I am hopeful that this will be rolled out to other areas in Dublin city.”