Limerick's St Gabriel's in deep end as pool bill comes to €140K

HYDROTHERAPY FACILITY CLOSED FOR 'HEALTH AND SAFETY' REASONS

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick's St Gabriel's in deep end as pool bill comes to €140K

Ian Dowling at the opening of St Gabriel’s hydrotherapy pool in 2009

A LIMERICK charity for children with disabilities faces a hefty €140,000 bill to cover repair works for its hydrotherapy swimming pool, which was forced to shut its doors due to “health and safety reasons”.

St Gabriel’s School and Centre, Dooradoyle, recently discovered structural problems with the swimming pool, which first opened in 2009.

Pool manager Erin Hackett said that since its closure a number of weeks ago, seven pool staff have been without work, and an average of 3,000 monthly users have been forced to avail of swimming pool services elsewhere.

She told the Limerick Leader this Monday that there had been a number of structural problems over the past eight years.

“Due to health and safety, we have to close. And for those few weeks, there has been nothing happening at all. But this shouldn’t have happened to, what is, a relatively new pool,” she said.

She added that ‘tanking’ — or waterproofing — wasn’t achieved during the pool’s construction.

“This sounds fairly basic when you are talking about a pool. There were a few other issues," she explained.

“Both the floor tiles and the wall tiles have already been replaced. There was no tile expansions put in, which meant that nothing had room to move with the temperatures inside the pool.

“Basically, the tiles started pushing against each other, they had nowhere to move, so they started coming off the wall and off the floor.

“There has been a few factors that have come into play, basically.”

She said that because management thought it was solely a tiling issue, they had initially projected a spend between €20,000 and €30,000.

As soon as they discovered that there was a potential health and safety issue, she requested for the pool to be closed immediately.

“We were pushing for the pool to be closed, because we were extremely worried and anxious that there was going to be an injury. And we knew we were going to be dealing with the public if something went wrong.”

It is hoped that the hydrotherapy pool will reopen in early May.