Lord Mayor: come on in, the Liffey water is ‘not that clean’

This year’s Liffey Swim will take place on Saturday August 24th marking its 94th year

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn is joined other swimmers including Claire Cantrell, Shane Drumm and  Tom Loftus in the River Liffey  during the launch of the 94th Dublin City Liffey Swim today. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn is joined other swimmers including Claire Cantrell, Shane Drumm and Tom Loftus in the River Liffey during the launch of the 94th Dublin City Liffey Swim today. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Tue, Aug 6, 2013, 17:23

Dublin’s first citizen was without his mayoral chains today but perhaps the lack of official bling wasn’t such a bad idea given that he was about to launch himself into a muddy river.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn was making a splash to promote this year’s Liffey Swim which takes place on Saturday August 24th which will be its 94th year.

“It’s a great event. It’s been running for a long time now and it’s a great way of opening up one of the city’s best national assets to the public and it’s very popular with the very seasoned outdoor swimmers,” Mr Quinn said.

Over 300 entrants are due to take part in this year’s 1,600 metre race, which will take a different route this year, beginning at the Loop Line Bridge beside Butt Bridge and finishing at the pontoon on the north side of the river in front of the O2.

“With the new bridge that’s being built they’ve had to move the route a little bit downstream but I think there’s still going to be plenty of great viewing points,” the mayor said today before taking to the water along with some of the Liffey swimmers who will take part in this years’ event.

However, while he emphasised that the that the river was safe for swimmers due to take part in this year’s event, he added he did not feel it was as clean as it should be.

“The Liffey could be a lot cleaner and it’s not as much as an amenity as it should be but the swim is organised at high tide and down this part of the Liffey you’re dealing with a lot of tidal water so saltwater is coming in which is cleaning the river and the Fire Brigade very kindly make their decontamination shower unit available immediately afterwards. So there’s actually no problem with this particular swim.

“But obviously from a general point of view it’s not ideal to be swimming in the city,” Mr Quinn said, adding that this is something he would like to see addressed in his time as mayor.

“Part of the issue is further upstream in Kildare County Council and there are one or two areas where you actually have the potential for foul water discharging into the Liffey so the Liffey is not really as clean as it should be for an amenity...It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed because it’s a great natural advantage to the city.”

Clodagh Nolan, who has taken part in the Liffey Swim for the past 21 years and who took the women’s trophy last year said apart from the competitive element the annual swim was “great fun”.

“Do you know what’s wonderful about it? It’s a sport for all age groups from the 12-year-olds right up to the 70- and 80-year-olds who are doing it...especially in the women’s group there’s a great span of all ages and all backgrounds. It’s great fun and the comradery is great,” she said.

Matthew Hynes (13), who has been doing the Liffey Swim since he was 10 said: “It’s a really good atmosphere, everyone’s really friendly and then, when you get in, you just fly down.”