White-water-rafting in Dublin

 

Sir, – Michael McDowell writes in outrage at the supposed wastefulness of spending €23 million on an urban white-water-rafting facility at an otherwise little used expanse of water in George’s Dock in Dublin (“Daft white-water rafting plan is anything but a capital idea”, Opinion, 4th December)

It should be noted that recreational white water-rafting experiences in the UK cost upwards of £50 per person, and that the attraction and convenience of being able to access a course with guaranteed flow rates in a city centre location would be worth a significant premium. Running the facility even part-time as a commercial enterprise could easily generate upwards of €3m in revenue per annum.

There would be running costs, naturally, but the development could well pay for itself within 15 years or so. In the meantime, and long after, it will be a unique and exciting facility for use by the country as a whole, as no similar facility exists anywhere else in Ireland – indeed there are few similar developments anywhere.

The brave and imaginative decision to invest in this development by Dublin City Council should be commended, not derided.

Mr McDowell famously campaigned for months to save our feeble and impotent Seanad from being disbanded in the 2013 referendum, before selflessly joining the institution himself shortly afterwards. The cost of salaries, expenses and allowances for members of the Seanad and their assistants was estimated at that time to be around €8.5 million per annum. This cost was on top of the cost of pensions for retired senators, and of providing the Seanad with debate and conference facilities, refreshments, ushers etc, which conveniently could not be clearly accounted for.

It seems that Mr McDowell is quite happy in some instances for large sums of public money to be wasted – at least as long as he is among the direct beneficiaries. – Yours, etc,

JOHN THOMPSON,

Phibsboro, Dublin 7.