Protest over plan to demolish Markievicz Leisure Centre in Dublin

Locals oppose demolition of swimming pool to make way for MetroLink rail line

About 50 people staged a demonstration outside a Dublin city centre swimming pool and apartment block on Tuesday over plans to demolish the facility to make way for the MetroLink rail line.

The Markievicz Leisure Centre on Townsend Street, which was refurbished by Dublin City Council two years ago at a cost of more than €1 million, has been earmarked for acquisition and demolition for the construction of an underground station for the €3 billion line.

College Gate, a complex of 70 apartments above the leisure centre, would also require demolition under the plans to provide a new transport “hub” next to Tara Street station for the line due to run from Swords to Sandyford by 2027.

Community groups have said transport authorities will face a “major fight” if they persist with the plans.


Tuesday’s demonstration, organised by the Save Markievicz Pool and Gym campaign group, moved from the Markievicz Leisure Centre around the corner to Pearse Street before looping back around to Townsend Street where a number of people addressed the group.

One of the organisers, Annette Mooney, said the plan was linked to “the gentrification of the inner city, changing names of places and moving people out to build hotels”. She added: “We’re not going away.”

Joe Byrne, who lives on Townsend Street, said he recently retired and that the pool was somewhere for local people to socialise.

“The pool is a great facility in many ways,” he said. “It’s great for exercise, but also it’s a good place for people to go to socialise with other people, as opposed to having to go to a pub or elsewhere.

“It would be a terrible shame to see this demolished for no good reason. The pool has been refurbished in the last year or so. It’s a great facility that is used by many people both living and working in the area.

“On top of all that, you have the people who live above. These are people that have been here for many years, and they will be evicted if this plan goes ahead. Like everyone else, I am determined and hopeful that this plan will not come to fruition.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter