Locals vow to save College Gate homes and Markievicz Leisure Centre

by Rachel Darcy

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Some 50 angered residents and locals staged a protest outside an apartment block and leisure centre in Dublin 2 over plans to demolish the building for MetroLink.

The Markievicz Leisure Centre and the College Gate apartments above have been earmarked for demolition for the construction of an underground MetroLink station.

Locals who use the leisure facilities, and residents of the apartments, were all in attendance at Tuesday night’s protest on Townsend Street, in an attempt to raise awareness of their situation.

The demonstration was organised by the Save Markievicz Pool and Gym campaign group. It began at the leisure centre before proceeding onto Pearse Street, before returning to the gym again.

Local resident Joe Byrne said: “I live near the centre and I’m a pensioner. I use the pool regularly, as do many of my neighbours.

“The pool and the gym are not only good for staying healthy, but they’re also very important socially.

“It’s a great facility for the whole community and the idea of it being torn down is awful.”

Speaking to Dublin Gazette, People Before Profit spokesperson John Devlin said that there is an “overwhelming” level of fear amongst residents in College Gate, and anger amongst locals that use the leisure centre.

Devlin said: “Whenever I talk to residents, in their official group or separately, there’s an overwhelming amount of worry and fear. Some are just petrified.

“Some of the people own an apartment … and they think it’s dreadful; some of the people living there are renting and know if they’re kicked out in this housing crisis, there’s a serious threat of homelessness.

“People in the area are furious about the loss of the leisure centre. Even the young people are saying it’s not right, asking ‘How can they take away our pool?’,” he said.

Devlin also said that the land that MetroLink actually need for the station is only one corner of the leisure complex, but as the work is underground, the entire building needs to be demolished for access.

He said: “The underground station actually only overlaps on one corner of the apartment complex and leisure centre, but because they want to get at it underground, they need to demolish the whole thing to do it.

“It’s the only public pool in the city centre that has the most access, and the only 25-metre pool. If you’re looking for affordable and easy access to swim, this is the only pool in the city [centre].”

According to a timeline on MetroLink’s website, following a public consultation process they will announce a preferred route before applying to An Bord Pleanala for planning permission.

Devlin said: “Once Metrolink start applying for planning permission, that’s the beginning of the end of the line for these people. If they get the planning permission, that is it.

“This needs to be stopped before planning permission is sought.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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