BALLYBUNION Leisure Centre needs you!
The centre is fighting back after being forced to close temporarily in the spring and is this week launching a major drive for more members in a bid to stay open.
Members overwhelmingly called for the centre to be kept open until December at a meeting of shareholders and members last week.
The centre was closed for ten weeks earlier this year after the electricity supply was power was cut off because payments were in arrears. However, it reopened in July following a massive push by management, supported by the Ballybunion community and an injection of funds from local businesses.
The centre needs €100,000 to continue in operation until December by which time it is hoped a new and more efficient power plant will be installed on the premises to reduce its energy costs by 30 per cent.
"We're calling on everyone in the north Kerry and west Limerick area to get behind their pool now, if they want to keep this facility in the area," Noelle Hegarty - one of the organisers of the membership drive - urged.
The club has set the target of 300 members for the month of September. With three-month membership fees at €150, they hope to raise at least €45,000 and double that again with another membership drive in October.
"We asked members if they wanted us to close the pool at the meeting but they gave a very clear indication they want it to remain open," Centre manager Pádraig Hanrahan said.
The wet summer was to the favour of the pool to a degree. "At the very least we didn't have to chase members with the visiting trade, but it's vital we get the people of north Kerry and west Limerick behind us now to keep this great facility."
Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan told the meeting he was hopeful his department would be able to contribute 90 per cent of the cost of the combined heat and power plant it needs to operate into the future.
"We hope to have it in situ and operational by the end of the year and it will save a massive 30 per cent on our energy bill," Mr Hanrahan said.