Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

New Forkhill playpark “a wonderful and welcome asset”

 by Diarmúid Pepper

Local residents and children gathered on Monday last to mark the official opening of the new children’s play park in Forkhill.

What was once the home of one of the biggest British Army military bases in south Armagh, the area has now been transformed into a state of the art play park that will be the envy of many. 

A number of delegates from Sinn Feín, including local councillor Mickey Larkin and Newry Council Chairperson Charlie Casey, were in attendance to officially open the new facility.

Speaking to The Examiner, local councillor Mickey Larkin welcomed the investment, but added that while it’s not the first investment for the area, “it’s hopefully not the last”.

He praised the efforts of the Council who have invested money in the walkway and play park at the former British Army base. 

“They have developed the site and now this absolutely amazing play park,” said Larkin.

“Such an amazing facility for families and kids, and you can’t have better views. It’s right in the heart of the village, with the green space and walkway around. 

“The amount of people using this site since it’s been opened has been incredible.”

“It came about through a partnership between the communities and the Council and Daera (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs), and is such a wonderful and welcome asset.”

Cllr Larkin also spoke about the symbolism of the site. 

“This was a remnant of the conflict. It was a blight on the village and the whole of south Armagh,” Larkin said in reference to the sites’s history as a British Army base.   “And to see it transformed into this, a facility for the community that is owned by the community, it is incredible.  There have been local people on the fada who have been working on this for 25 years and I am sure that they are overjoyed. 

“There is more to be done and it will continue, their intention is to keep working hard, along with the council, to bring more facilities to this site for the community.  It takes time and they’ve worked hard, it’s been a labour of joy for them, but look how it’s worked out,” Larkin added.