Unisex shelter approved near Forty Foot


Local councillors agreed last night to go ahead with a new shelter for swimmers at Sandycove harbour and beach in south Co Dublin.

The shelter, adjoining the existing life guard hut, will be close to the Forty Foot bathing area.

The existing changing huts at the Forty Foot are under the control of the Sandycove Bathers’ Association and are off-limits to women. The association voted 24 to 17 not to allow women members last winter.

The new bathing shelter will be open to all, members of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council were assured.

The single-storey structure will have three walls and a flat glass roof and will include a changing area and separate shower space.

There will also be additional outdoor seating and a changing area.

Parking fee reduction

In other business, councillors voted to cut parking fees in Dún Laoghaire’s shopping area from €2 an hour to €1.50 following lobbying by local businesses. The roads affected are Corrig Avenue, Library Road, Northcote Avenue, St Mary’s Street, Tivoli Terrace and York Road. The reduction will cost the council about €25,000 a year.

Councillors also heard a Government proposal to extend the council’s size from 28 councillors to 40 would cost almost €700,000 in the first year. As part of the Government’s plan to reorganise local government, Putting People First, the number of councillors countrywide will be reduced from 1,627 to 950, but Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s membership will be increased to 40.

Additional costs

In a report, county manager Owen Keegan said direct costs in the first year, including salaries for the additional councillors and travel and subsistence, were estimated at almost €335,000, based on current payments. Support costs would total more than €335,000.

There would also be additional capital costs involved in a larger council because the current council chamber, a protected structure, would not be large enough to accommodate it.

Mr Keegan said options to extend the chamber were being prepared by the council architect’s department.

Cllr Gerry Horkan (FF) said it was highly unlikely the Government would fund costs incurred by the increase, and cuts to services would have to be introduced.

But Cllr Richard Humphreys (Lab) said Dublin had been seriously discriminated against and Leitrim had eight times more councillors per thousand of population.

Legislation on the proposed changes is expected before the 2014 local elections.