Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly has announced that all future funding for children's playgrounds will be dependent on them being no-smoking areas.

The minister made the announcement as he sanctioned payments of €250,000 for children's play and recreation projects across Ireland. 

In a statement, he said applications for funding will face an additional criterion related to Tobacco Free Ireland. 

He said: "The Government has made clear its intention to progress policies that reduce the prevalence of smoking amongst all ages. 

"I have made a particular point of stressing the need to stop children from ever starting to smoke in the first place and we pursue a policy of attempting to de-normalise smoking for young people. 

"For that reason in future I will request that funding for projects such as children's playgrounds will be contingent on the relevant local authority implementing a policy of ensuring the projects are no smoking areas. 

"The importance of de-normalising smoking in the eyes of children can't be over emphasised."

19 local authorities will benefit from today's announcement of funding for projects.
The projects include the refurbishment and development of six urban, suburban and public housing play areas in Dublin city.

They also include the provision of new, accessible equipment for a playground built in the 1970's in Athy, Co Kildare and the creation of an innovative, natural playground spaces and outdoor learning environments in Tyrrelstown in Dublin.

A recreational space and multi-use games area for children and teenagers will also be developed in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.