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First women in Forty Foot bathing club

WOMEN have finally been accepted into the bathing club at the Forty Foot, Dun Laoghaire.

The Sandycove Bathers' Association said that female members will now be permitted to use their facilities.

Although women have been allowed to swim with the club at the Dublin bathing spot, they were prohibited from using the two club huts.

One is for changing and the other has kitchen and clubhouse facilities.

A number of women paid an annual fee to the club for maintenance – but up until now, this did not entitle them to membership.

Many protests have been made by women swimmers over the years.

In 2012 a vote was held on the issue by the association but it was defeated 24 to 17.

Then councillors went so far as to call on the Government to review the 1937 operating licence for the club last October.

Finally, it was decided in a meeting last week that women could become full members and two women have already been accepted by the committee.

A new bathing shelter was put up by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council at the Forty Foot. The unisex changing room will now be used by the women swimmers.

Dun Laoghaire Councillor Jane Dillon Byrne said that the move is "long desired".

EQUALITY

"PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON IT SINCE EQUALITY WAS INTRODUCED INTO IRELAND IN THE 1970S," SHE ADDED.

President of the association Fred Espey earlier said that the issue surrounded the interpretation of the rules.

The committee had the power to accept or reject applications, but there was never a rule excluding any particular people, he said.

CMURPHY@HERALD.IE


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