The Mayo County Council Director of Services for the Castlebar area, Mr Seamus Granahan, has dismissed claims by a local councillor that Castlebar Swimming Pool is ‘highly dangerous’ and priority should be given to the building of a new pool.
Cllr Frank Durcan argues that the pool is ‘defective’ and is the reason why he has to wear an hearing aid in each ear and argues that spending money on repairing an asbestos roof in the pool building is throwing good money after bad.
“I propose that the council abandon the substantial repairs on the existing swimming pool and proceed with the erection of a new pool, for which there is funding of €3.8m available from Minister Ring. It is ridiculous in the extreme to spend €500,000 on repairs this year.
“That pool has an asbestos roof on it. I spoke with the late Liam Ball, when he was manager of the pool, and he said that the pool was defective. It was years in storage in Derry and the Derry City Council rejected it. The pool never completely cleans itself out because of its design. It is highly dangerous,” said Cllr Durcan.
He was speaking at last Thursday’s Castlebar Electoral Area meeting in the town but, in response, Director of Services for Castlebar, Seamus Granahan, said the pool is perfectly safe and that his family use it ‘five or six times a week’.
“It is not highly dangerous, it is perfectly safe. It has been independently checked and audited. I want the message to go out that Castlebar Swimming Pool is safe to use. We’re committed to keeping it open. The figure with regard to repairing and replacing the roof is €100,000, the €500,000 figure is total costs of running the pool for the year with wages, maintenance etc.
“We are committed in as far as we can to a new pool. We’re looking further than just a pool though. A pool on its own is not sustainable, we’re looking at an overall project but the cost is significant. The estimated cost in 2005 was €9-10 million,” he said.
Cllr Eugene McCormack (FG) said he was hopeful that some political goodwill from the Fine Gael government might help the building of a pool. There is currently a €3.8 million grant available to be drawn down.
“I concur with the need for a new pool. There is a misconception about the €3.8 million. That won’t build the pool, we would need to find a lot more funds ourselves. Politically we have some chance of getting that in the near future but we have to keep the current pool operating in the interim,” he said.