THE Glenalbyn Swimming Pool saga took another twist this week.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has offered to put forward an independent mediator in an effort to progress the much delayed facility.
In his letter shown to Dublin Gazette to the chairperson of Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club Kevin Foley and chief executive of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Philomena Poole, Minister Ross wrote: “As you know, Cllr Deirdre Donnelly and I have been campaigning for over four years for the re-opening of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool.
“In circumstances where the council has specifically ring-fenced funds for the project, I think it’s fair to say that none of us expected such a long delay.
“Meanwhile, our school children are missing out on the very many benefits such a local amenity provides.
“It is my understanding that everyone wants the pool to re-open and, as such, it is unclear why the process appears to have stalled.”
Minister Ross added that with his view to resolving the issue to the satisfaction of all concerned.
He proposed that the parties involved engage with a resolution process and that the assistant secretary general of his department, Ken Spratt, is willing to arrange a mediation, to be chaired by an independent qualified mediator from Sport Ireland.
Independent councillor for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Deirdre Donnelly, has welcomed the Minister’s offer of a mediator.
“I am the only current sitting councillor for the Stillorgan ward who was present when that first meeting was held back in 2013 following the announcement of the closure of the pool.
“I was at the protest a few weeks later when a large crowd turned up in Stillorgan Village to express their anger. I have been very active since then campaigning for a new pool and think that it is soul-destroying to have the process delayed over what are basically a few minor issues.
“I have voiced my concerns about this to Minister Ross on a number of occasions over the past while and am delighted that he is taking such a proactive approach. I really hope that there will be a positive outcome from the Minister’s intervention.”
Minister Ross told Dublin Gazette he received good feedback from his proposal: “I am happy to report that the concerned parties I contacted regarding the re-opening of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool are seriously considering my proposal to help resolve the current impasse.
“I very much hope that the current issues preventing the re-opening of our pool can be resolved with an outcome that is satisfactory for all concerned and I am willing to give my every assistance to that end.”
Dublin Gazette contacted the concerned parties, including Ronnie Murray, Club PRO of Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club, who told us they are willing to engage in the mediation process.
“We are not in any form of dispute with DLRCC, we will participate in any process designed to support our ongoing dialogue with the council.
“We understand from the Minister that there may be a role for Sport Ireland but Crokes is unaware of what arrangements will be put in place.”
A representative of chief executive of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Philomena Poole told us: “The chief executive is considering the issues raised in Minister Ross’ correspondence of February 6.”