SOME 200 locals showed up to a public meeting to demand the re-opening of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool on Monday night – as increased pressure is put on the council to refurbish the beloved amenity at its original site.
The communities of Stillorgan and beyond descended on O’Dwyers Pub in Kilmacud to voice their frustration at the delay in reopening their much-loved swimming pool.
Glenalbyn pool closed its doors to the public more than three and a half years ago due to health and safety concerns.
The roof was subsequently removed and the basin filled in, with locals assuming defects would be remedied in a timely fashion.
The council then commissioned two pricey consultants’ reports last year on whether the pool should be rebuilt at its original site.
The reports, which cost €68k, found that the current site is suitable – echoing what locals had said all along.
Since then, not much has happened, but Monday night’s meeting proved that locals have not given up on getting the facility reopened.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Shane Ross said: “It is high time the council came good on its promise to refurbish and reopen Glenalbyn Swimming Pool at the original site.
“The community is crying out for the return of this vital facility. While daily we are reminded of the benefits of swimming for young and old alike, not just physically, but also mentally and socially, it seems deeply injurious to the community to be deprived of our pool for so long.”
Also present at the meeting was Catherine Murray, chairperson of the Glenalbyn Swimming Club.
Catherine told the room how her two children, Oisin and Aoife, are elite swimmers with Glenalbyn Swimming Club but have terrible difficulties finding training facilities in other pools.
Many other attendees also spoke about what the pool means to them. Minister Ross’s views were shared by Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind), who has also been campaigning for the pool’s reopening.
She said: “I am delighted that there was such a high turn-out despite the summer holidays. This clearly indicates that there is a strong interest in re-opening the pool within the community.”
The council has ringfenced €10 million for the project in its capital plan, but it is understood that the delay arises from, amongst other issues, finalising the design and construction plan for the site and the desire to upgrade the resulting impact on the immediate surroundings.
A council spokesperson said: “Discussions between representatives of the council and Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club are continuing to address all of the matters regarding the impacts of the pool refurbishment project on the club’s facilities in Glenalbyn in a comprehensive way.”
The council also confirmed that an assessment screening has been undertaken and a draft report has been received which is now being reviewed, adding: “Some of the matters under negotiation have yet to be within the council’s gift, ie provisions of facilities generally, and this impacts on the timeline [of delivering a new pool].”