Cllr Tony Murphy (Ind) didn’t mince his words at last Friday’s sitting of Fingal County Council. Having proposed a motion that the council transfer an €8.2m surplus identified into a fund for the purpose of municipal swimming pool facilities for Fingal, council members voted 16 For, 19 Against.
Notably, Cllr Karen Power (GP) and Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh (Lab) both members of Balbriggan, Balrothery, Loughshinny and Skerries LEA, voted against.
“I was so disappointed the motion wasn’t passed at full council last week. There are 81 municipal swimming pools across Ireland – Fingal is the ONLY council in Ireland without one!”
Cllr Murphy noted Dublin City has eight municipal pools, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire have two each; neighbouring counties Kildare has two, Offaly four, Laois and Meath, three apiece, and Wicklow has two. Co Mayo has eight.
“€8.2m won’t deliver a swimming pool but it would start the process, and we could have applied for further funding from the €100m available from the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sport, through large scale developments.”
“The Executive drew up a selection of projects on the night that could benefit from the surplus – a bit like Gay Byrne, ‘one for everyone in the audience’. Had there been an appetite to deliver a municipal swimming pool, that money could have started the process. Councils with smaller budgets can deliver swimming pools to their communities!”
Chair of the Strategic Policy Committee (SPC), whose role is to de-risk and investigate economic, enterprise, tourism and cultural development for the area, Cllr Murphy added: “Shame on the Executive and shame on the councillors! A pool would contribute to sport, to well-being and health, to community development and social inclusion, plus economic activity.”
In response to the frustration expressed from BASS, Cllr Murphy said the group is correct in what they say “re the lack of support that was given in the initial stages of the Bremore Regional Park Plan, which was out of public display as a Part 8.
“There was a lot of anger that the swimming groups were not included in the design infrastructure process. There were many submissions calling on a swimming platform, a tidal pool, paddle boarding, etc. None of these elements were included in the final draft report – they were basically ignored when Part 8 plan was completed. “
Cllr Murphy and Cllr Grainne Maguire (Ind), as a consequence of the omission, secured a commitment with the Chief Executive of FCC, that the council would initiate a consultation process in order to evaluate the beach area in Balbriggan for the needs of the sea users, swimmers, etc.
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