Boy, 11, injured after falling from 'rotten' zipwire at Cork playground

The mother of an 11-year-old boy who was injured while playing in their local park in Cork has called on the County Council to immediately address the state of disrepair at the playground.

Darragh Kellaway was playing on the zipwire at Kilworth park on August 4 when the chain gave way and he was flung to the ground from a height.

He was brought to Mallow General Hospital where he was treated for tissue damage to his ankle, leaving him on crutches for a week.

"There was no lasting damage done but he was very lucky," Darragh's mother Sharon told Patricia Messinger on C103's Cork Today show.

"It wasn't a big deal, he didn't break a leg, but he was on crutches the rest of the week with the soft tissue damage," she said.

Darragh recovering at Mallow General Hospital. Photo: Sharon Kellaway.
Darragh recovering at Mallow General Hospital. Photo: Sharon Kellaway.

Sharon said the zipwire was rotten and that the park is in disrepair, with many of the fixtures needing to be renovated or replaced.

She expressed her frustration with Fermoy County Council's delay in addressing the issues at the playground after she made several complaints calling for urgent action.

She said she initially made a complaint over wood rot on some of the safety masts in the park in April, with subsequent complaints made in May and July.

Two days after Darragh's accident, Sharon said she made a complaint with Fermoy Council again about the deteriorating facilities in Kilworth park.

"I was met with a bit of a huff and puff, I suppose they had loads of jobs to come back to after the Bank Holiday weekend.

She was told that someone would visit the site straight away and get back to her, but no call came.

The broken zipwire in Kilworth park, photographed by Sharon.
The broken zipwire in Kilworth park, photographed by Sharon.

Councillor William O'Leary, who is in the Fermoy district, said he had received "numerous calls" regarding Kilworth park, and has been in contact with the Council in an attempt to resolve the issue.

A spokesperson for Cork County Council said that the playground is assessed weekly by a trained inspector and that the damaged facilities were "immediately" closed off to the public once they were informed of the issues.

They said that repairs will now be carried out in September.

"When made aware of the current issue, Cork County Council took immediate action by curtailing the equipment from public use. The multi-unit is cordoned off and the cableway unit is chained and locked up in order to prevent use," they said.

"There is a schedule of maintenance which is due to be progressed in the first week of September which will address the defects observed."

Sharon said she was highlighting the issue due to the delay in improvement works being carried out in the playground, and wanted to ensure that the park is fit for purpose.

"I'm not doing this for any personal gain for myself," she said.

I'm not looking to make a claim, I'm not looking to get monetary gain, all I'm looking for is to get the park up and running to the safe standard that the kids can go back playing again.

"My problem is that it is just taking so long to do anything with the playground to get anything fixed.

"I feel that if I didn't voice my concerns...[the council] would be doing nothing.

"Maybe it's not going to cause an immediate danger to the children right now, but these are the repairs that need to be done to stop any problems later on that are going to cause children to get hurt.

"There's no point having [a playground] there if it's not fit for the purpose intended," she said.

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