Calls for Glenalbyn swimming pool to be reopened

Public meeting to be held to protest closure of 47-year-old facility in Stillorgan

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council officials produced a report questioning the economic merit of reopening a pool at the Glenalbyn location, causing anger among locals. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council officials produced a report questioning the economic merit of reopening a pool at the Glenalbyn location, causing anger among locals. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A public meeting to protest at the ongoing closure of Glenalbyn swimming pool in south County Dublin is to be held in Stillorgan, on Monday night.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors ring-fenced a €10 million fund to rebuild the pool after concerns about the roof forced the closure of the 47-year-old facility in December 2013.

However in February this year council officials produced a report questioning the economic merit of reopening a pool at the Glenalbyn location, citing an ageing population in the area.

But locals claim this report was flawed and failed to take into account the membership and patronage of various clubs and schools, including the 2,000-member, Kilmacud Crokes GAA club next door to the pool.

A Facebook page, “Re-open Glenalbyn Swimming Pool” has been set up by local Independent councillor Deirdre Donnelly, which has been endorsed by fellow area councillor, Cathaoirleach Barry Saul.

Mr Saul has pledged all party support to reopen the pool. Photographs on the Facebook page show a crowded public meeting in February of this year.

Petition

An online petition has also been set up by local TD Shane Ross who along with Mr Donnelly has organised the public meeting for 8pm in St Laurence’s Parish Centre, close to the closed pool.

Mr Ross said he hoped many of the groups and associations which formerly used the pool would attend the public meeting, called “in response to the discontent of local residents”.

“The pool has now been, inexplicably, closed for over 18 months,” he said.

“This meeting will discuss the council’s inexplicable delay, the lack of action and will demand urgent moves to restore swimming to Stillorgan.”

Mr Ross said “generations, hundreds of families, schoolchildren and staff at Glenalbyn itself are suffering from the loss of the pool. No credible excuse has been offered by the council for the delay. We will be asking the real question: Does the council intend to reopen the pool at all?”

Glenalbyn pool had operated on site for 47 years and was regularly used by Swim Ireland and other aquatic clubs for training.

Demographics

While it was initially agreed to reopen the pool after repairs to the roof, the consultants’ report found issues with the demographics of the area, as well as other impediments such as the constricted nature of the site, particularly in relation to parking and access.

It also drew attention to more modern swimming pools and leisure facilities at Meadowbrook, Loughlinstown and Monkstown among others.

In a statement Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council said the members established a working group “to examine the issues surrounding the future of Glenalbyn Swimming Pool. This group, which had its initial meeting on March 9th 2015, is considering a number of options including the refurbishment of the existing pool.”

A report on the group’s recommendations is to be prepared for the July council meeting or at the latest, the September council meeting”, the statement said.

It added: “It will then be a matter for the council to decide on Glenalbyn’s future”.