A Cavan Town resident has launched a campaign to get a skatepark built for the town's kids.
John Moore says that the town and kids would benefit in terms of health and not falling into a life of crime or drug-abuse, or worse, like so many of his childhood friends did.
In an email to Cavan County Council, he outlines the benefits of a park for the kids and teenagers of the town and says that they have "no place to meet up and hang out with friends, they are just getting into trouble with gardaí, drinking and taking drugs".
He emphasises that a skatepark would "be a great place for the kids to socialise, stay out of trouble and get much-needed exercise".
John, who founded the residents' association around his Drumgola Wood neighbourhood, says he will go on a poster campaign and petition to raise awareness of the benefits of skateboarding for kids and to change attitudes to the sport, which up until recently was tarnished by its underground roots.
"I am a skateboarder and I know what I'm talking about. I grew up in a bad part of Dublin, most the people I grew up with are now dead or drug addicts, I can honestly say that skateboarding saved me from a life of drugs and crime - we had no skateparks back then and would just skate the streets." he says. "I mean those guys are still there, in Sandyford, on street corners, drinking, drugs, whatever..."
"I'd worry for my little lad, I don't want him hanging around and getting in trouble... If you have a load of little kids looking at older kids, teens, they copy them, if you go down to the fitness park, where the skate park was going to be, you see teens drinking and smoking there after dark. There's nowhere for them to release all their energy, their frustrations. My point is that if the younger kids see the older ones skating then soon enough they'll want to skate, too.
"It's actually cheap to do, it's just cement and a design, it's all-weather there's little or no overheads.
"As it is now, anyone with a skateboard around Cavan is asked to move on, by staff or sometimes gardaí, the association is with anti-social behaviour or vandalism and that creates its own stigma, so it'd be better all round with a park."
John has developed his own Facebook page called Cavan Skatepark Army and is passing out posters in and around the town to raise awareness for his campaign.
In his letter to the council he says "I know you [the council] do not want kids and teenagers skating the busy streets of Cavan Town, you do not want us to skate and damage business property so please for the sake of the kids that are hanging around with nowhere to go and getting into all sorts of trouble please build a skatepark.
"Kids growing up in Cavan will benefit from having a skatepark to go to and socialise instead of growing up and following the bigger kids around the town getting into all sorts of trouble... The people of Cavan pay taxes as well, it's our right to have a skatepark for our kids, it's not just Dublin it's Ireland, why does nearly every county have skateparks except for Cavan, please help save our kids," he writes.
Cavan County Council were contacted for a comment but they had not responded in time for print.
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