White-water rafting in Dublin city centre

 

Sir, – It was reported last week that Dublin City Council’s harebrained white-water rafting centre was progressing and entering the tendering phase. Here’s a question for elected city councillors. Why not do something that will benefit ordinary Dubliners?

I’m not opposed to Ireland expanding its grossly deficient sporting infrastructure. But it strikes me that a 19th-century maritime dock calls out for a historically sensitive, people-friendly development. Unlike swimming, white-water rafting is a minority pursuit. Its location should reflect this fact. The reported basic price point of €50 for users suggests that councillors are not thinking of the wider community for this historic and publicly owned space. There is a distinct whiff of the vanity project about the whole thing, or could it be another example of the living city being sacrificed to the tourism interest? Genuine utility to the community could easily be achieved with an outdoor swimming pool facility combined with parkland.

Last summer, plans for a heated outdoor swimming complex right beside the white-water facility were made. The idea was to build a floating swimming pool on the Liffey outside the Hilton Hotel on North Wall quay. The structure would ruin the integrity of 18th-century quays and clog the narrow waterway. The Liffey should be left alone, and the white-water rafting elephant put to sleep.

A modern outdoor swimming facility for all Dubliners, accessible to all abilities, would be ideal for George’s Dock. The site could accommodate multiple pools, including Olympic standard. It would be a space for all, with public health benefits. Savings on the white-water facility could be redirected to the urgent homelessness and housing crises. – Yours, etc,

PATRICK EARLS

Dublin 8.