The urgent need for a new swimming pool in Castlebar was highlighted at the annual budget meeting of the Town Council this week. Councillor Eugene McCormack brought up the issue that the council had budgeted to spend €230,000 this year on the swimming pool in the town, which was currently closed for repair and had been over the Christmas period. Cllr McCormack told the meeting: “We have budgeted a lot of money for the pool again here and it’s something we should highlight, the sad state the pool is in and its need of a proper upgrade.” Independent Cllr Frank Durcan told the meeting that the pool should never have been put into Castlebar when it was and that the pool had been previously rejected by Kerry County Council before it was installed in Castlebar. Fine Gael Cllr Noreen Heston asked the meeting if there was any chance that the town could enter into a public private partnership with one of the private pools in the town as the pool cannot cope with the demand that it has which often outstrips the supply it can provide.
Cllr Blackie Gavin told the meeting: “I’m delighted that this has been raised. It’s an awful shame that the pool was closed in the town over Christmas. I myself had to travel to Westport over the Christmas to use the pool, which is a shame and the swimming club in the town, who have done great things over the years, have also had to find alternate accommodation over the last few weeks.”
Cllr Durcan went on to say: “This should be a priority, we’ve heard about money being spent on purchasing the military barracks tonight, but this is a real priority. We have lands at Lough Lannagh and we should look at this, it would be a great boost to the town and the holiday village and bring in huge amounts of visitors to the town and the village.” Mayor Michael Kilcoyne told the meeting: “There was a proposal a number of years ago to open a new pool at Lough Lannagh holiday village, but the council had to come up with about €5 million to fund the project.”
Town manager Seamus Granahan replied: “This is a very old pool and it has very high maintenance and is in definite need of replacement. The cost of a new pool would be in the region of €8 million to €10 million.” Mr Granahan also told the meeting that it is anticipated that the pool would be reopened by the end of next week.