| 10.5°C Dublin

'Now use city pools we have kept open'

THREE swimming pools threatened with closure this summer will remain open until the end of the year -- but their future remains uncertain with the city council's budget due to shrink further in 2011.

City manager John Tierney said further savings had been found to keep the pools at Sean McDermott Street, Crumlin and Coolock open until January.

However, he warned councillors Dublin City Council's income would fall further next year, and expenditure would have to be reduced.

Councillors warmly welcomed the news the pools were being saved for the moment, but some warned usage of the pools must increase or they are facing closure next year.



PARING

"The council is facing a potential deficit of €25m next year and we've got to get usage of the pools up," said Cllr Bill Tormey (Ind). "Or we will have to close them. We have managed to keep the pools open, we now need to look at their usage."

Some €600,000 was originally provided in the 2010 budget for the operation of the swimming pools for six months.

The pools were due to close at the end of June but intense campaigning and numerous meetings were held over the last months as part of the Save our Swimming Pool (SOS) campaign.

Cllr Christy Burke (Ind) said the closure of the pools would be a "total disaster" for the inner city.

By paring back costs and cutting opening hours the council has stretched the budget to the end of August.

A further €300,000 has now been found through cost-cutting by the council's community, recreation and amenity department which will keep the pools open until the end of the year.



EXECUTION

Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) commended the communities who had fought, but said the investment would be wasted if the council did not develop a substantial plan to keep the pools open into the future.

Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole said a stay of execution for the pools was no use.

"We want these pools kept open, improved and promoted for community use.

"Our campaign will continue in the council and on the streets," he said.

Cllr O'Toole was asked to leave the council chamber after he protested at the refusal of the Lord Mayor, Cllr Gerry Green, to prioritise two motions on the future of the pools.

hnews@herald.ie


Privacy