Thursday 14 November 2019

Now Ross wants a swimming pool reopened in his constituency

CAMPAIGN: Shane Ross wants local swimming pool reopened
CAMPAIGN: Shane Ross wants local swimming pool reopened
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

After securing the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station, Transport Minister Shane Ross is gearing up a new constituency campaign to have a local swimming pool reopened.

Mr Ross was accused of parish-pump politics for making the reopening of the Garda station a condition of his support for the Fine Gael-led Government. However, he was widely praised in his Dublin Rathdown constituency where locals were outraged when former Justice Minister and local TD Alan Shatter closed the station.

Now, Mr Ross has turned his attentions to the Glenalbyn swimming pool in Stillorgan, which was closed four years ago after the roof of the facility almost caved in.

The minister highlighted the issue while in Opposition, and is now reigniting the debate around the pool by holding a public meeting on the issue in his constituency tomorrow evening.

In recent weeks, Mr Ross covered his constituency in posters advertising the meeting and dropped hundreds of leaflets into his constituents' homes.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent yesterday, Mr Ross said: "I campaigned to have the pool reopened in Opposition and I see no reason why I shouldn't continue that campaign while in Government."

Dublin Rathdown Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond said there was a "clear need" for swimming facilities in the area and urged the minister to use his position to have the pool reopened.

"It's great to see the minister engaging with the local community on this important issue, though perhaps he could use his offices to bring together the relevant parties and try to get past this delay," Mr Richmond said

However, Mr Ross said there was nothing he could do as Minister responsible Sport and Tourism to get the pool reopened.

He insisted he would put pressure on Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to reopen the pool. The minister said the local authority had €10m set aside to pay for a redesign and refurbishment of the existing swimming pool.

There was also a proposal to have a new pool facility built on another site but this was not approved by the county council. The county council ordered a consultation review of both sites, which recommend the existing centre was the best location for the pool.

Mr Ross said the pool campaign was completely separate from his work as a Cabinet minister.

The Transport Minister faced criticism earlier this year when he was accused of allowing the controversial appointment of Attorney General Marie Whelan in return for the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station. However, Mr Ross vehemently denied this was the case and insisted that the Garda review of closed stations showed that population increases and rises in crime justified the need for the reopening.

He said he was not aware of the appointment of Ms Whelan by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny until he was briefed on the morning of the last Cabinet meeting before the Fine Gael leader stepped down.

Sunday Independent

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