Round-table discussion on Newcastle West pool moves on

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Kate Cussen: ‘A travesty needing to be addressed’

Kate Cussen: ‘A travesty needing to be addressed’

THE decision by Limerick City and County Council management not to back the proposal for a new public swimming pool as part of the Desmond Complex in Newcastle West has been met with disappointment from those championing it: the Desmond Complex Pool Committee.

“We are disappointed with the result of the meeting. We think it is a travesty there isn’t a public pool in Newcastle West and we feel this is something that should be addressed sooner rather than later,” the committee’s spokesperson Kate Cussen said in response to last week’s decision.

At a meeting of the Newcastle West Municipal District last week, director of services with the council, Gordon Daly told councillors that management was backing a consultants’ report which  had concluded there would be an impact on existing public and private pools in the area if a new public pool were to go ahead in Newcastle West.

Either the existing pools  would be adversely affected or a new  public pool would not attract sufficient numbers to be financially viable, the impact study report carried out by BDO consultants concluded.

But the report came in for criticism from Cllr Michael Collins who said it hadn’t followed the brief agreed while Cllr Seamus Browne said the methodology used was deeply flawed. Cllr Browne also said he would find it objectionable if public money were to be given to a private operator to provide a swimming pool.

Only Cllr Liam Galvin defended the report  while Cllr John Sheahan argued that a solution needed to be found.

Newcastle West, as Limerick’s largest town, needed a public pool, he agreed. “The provision of a public pool should be paramount in our discussion. How we get there seems to be where the problem is.” Over €40,000 had been spent on a feasibility study and on an impact study and what had emerged were divergent views and entrenched positions. “All that doesn’t lead to where we want to go,” Cllr Sheahan said.

“I still think there is scope here to provide that service,” he said but objectivity was needed.  

And he reiterated his call for a round-table discussion involving all the stakeholder s to the discussion. And he included in this, Killeline Leisure Centre, now renamed as the  West Limerick Sports Complex CLG.

This new entity says its ultimate goal is to provide a public 25m heated pool with a larger gym, cafe, soft play area and sensory garden on a site at Killeline where a two-acre site for expansion has been obtained. The new company says it wants to work with the council  to deliver the facility. “Let’s hear the proposal,” Cllr Sheahan said. 

Councillors agreed to convene the round-table meeting and the Desmond Complex Pool Committee has responded to that invitation.

“We are anxious to meet with councillors and officials to find a possible solution for the people of Newcastle West,” their spokesperson, Ms Cussen said.