There have been mixed reactions over an announcement made at this week’s council meeting over the future of Glenalbyn swimming pool.
€10 million was ringfenced for the refurbishment of the Stillorgan pool after it was closed in 2013 over the structural issues with the roof.
In 2017, Minister Shane Ross initiated a mediation process between Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC), who own the pool site, and Kilmacud Crokes GAA who own the neighbouring lands needed for access during a rebuild.
Chief executive Philomena Poole said there has been “no satisfactory resolution” to the talks and it would be “unwise” to delay the progress of other projects such as Stillorgan Library, Fernhill and the East Pier by “tying up the funds assigned for Glenalbyn”.
On Monday, council members were told they do not have the power to direct the chief executive to continue the ringfenced funds for the pool.
Local councillors and representatives have been giving their reaction to Dublin Gazette.
Cllr Donal Smith (FF) said: “The funding for Glenalbyn Pool has been pulled. That means that the plug has been effectively pulled on the pool project.
“We also have been given the council’s opinion to say that we as councillors have no power to change that decision. The commitments previously given to ringfence funds for the pool have been abandoned.”
Stillorgan Area Rep Rosie Ni Laoghaire (SF) said the loss of funding for the pool is a “slap in the face” for the local community.
Cllr. Liam Dockery (FF) said: “I’m shocked by the Council decision to defund Glenalbyn pool. Back in 2014, the Council ‘ring-fenced’ €10m to refurbish the pool – and, like everyone else, I thought the money was secure. So, I feel let down by what’s happened.
“It’s frustrating that we Councillors are powerless to change that decision.”
Cllr Lettie McCarthy (LAB) said: “The people of Stillorgan and the wider community have shown great patience and I share their deep disappointment with the snail’s pace progress of Glenalbyn Pool. We cannot sit idly by in the belief that everything will be sorted through mediation any longer.”
Dublin Rathdown TD Catherine Martin (GP) said: “The sooner the mediation talks conclude, and a report is published the better for all concerned. Enough time has been wasted.”
Stillorgan Rep Eva Elizabeth Dowling (GP) added: “There is too much secrecy over the ongoing mediation process and locals are in the dark as to what is being discussed and how well things are progressing.”
Stillorgan Rep Rachael Prendergast Spollen (PBP) echoed that call: “It’s time to ask what is going on in the mediation process between the Council and Kilmacud Crokes GAA, and why the issues remain secret”.
However, Minister Shane Ross has said that contrary to a “misleading narrative” that DLRCC has abandoned the pool project, Ms Poole has reaffirmed to him the council’s commitment to it.
In a letter shown to Dublin Gazette from Ms Poole in response to Minister Ross and Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (IND) she said the council remain “committed” in the talks with Kilmacud Crokes.
She said if talks do reach a resolution, it will not be anywhere close to contract in 2019, however she added: “The third-party funds which are available (€1.7m) will allow it to advance through to the design and planning stages”.
Minister Ross said: “Sufficient money (€1.7m) is available to kickstart the project with design and planning.
“I call on both parties in the mediation process to conclude talks as a matter of urgency. That will give the green light to the reopening of the pool.”
Another meeting between Kilmacud Crokes and DLRCC is planned for this week.