SOUTH County Dublin is getting a new revamped sports complex and swimming pool after a massive facelift for Loughlinstown Leisure Centre was given the go-ahead.
The decision comes as campaigners continue their year long fight to save three of Dublin's swimming pools -- in Coolock, Crumlin and Sean McDermott Street.
Dublin City Council says it cannot comment on whether the three at-risk pools will be kept open from the end of this year, since funding for all council services is a matter for the council's 2011 budget.
However, a new 25-metre swimming pool and four five a-side football pitches are to be included in development plans passed by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council last night.
The overhaul of the leisure centre will increase the existing Loughlinstown Leisure Centre to 1.6 hectares.
It will also see the construction of a new foyer, a party room for 30 children, spectator seating for 80 people at the swimming pool, new offices and changing facilities and increased parking to include 114 car spaces.
Labour Party councillor Denis O' Callaghan, who lives in neighbouring Shankill, welcomed the move and encouraged the competition that the public facility may bring to private sports facilities in the area.
He said: "There is tremendous support in the community for this proposal as it is much needed. If the private operators want competition so be it."
Council management says that the new facilities will be made extremely affordable for the community on a pay-as-you-go basis. New staff for the centre are to be recruited by the leisure service department.
The cost of running the new swimming pool, including the cost of staff wages, is to be made from income generated by the sports centre.
People Before Profit councillor Richard Boyd Barrett described it as "a huge boost to an area which lacks sufficient amenities".
The Dun Laoghaire Rathdown area currently has three full-service swimming pools, with two planned for the Loughlinstown facility and another in Ballyogan. An Irish Leisure and Amenity management study recommended the county should have nine altogether.