The second meeting of the new Castlebar Municipal District saw the row over the potential construction of a 50-metre swimming pool for the town as opposed to a 25-metre pool, as had been approved by the former Castlebar Town Council, raise its head from the depths again.
Independent Cllr Frank Durcan raised the issue, saying that he believed that a 50-metre pool would create jobs for the town as it would bring people from all over the region to train and use the pool as there are only two cities with 50-metre pools in the country already, in Limerick and in Dublin. However Sinn Fein Cllr Therese Ruane, who had opposed the idea of a 50-metre pool in the former town council, said that the pool would become a “white elephant” for which the council would be left to foot the bill for the extra running costs, which she said would be in the region of €400,000 a year. Cllr Ruane said that she would love to see a 50-metre pool in the town but it would not be feasible and that other cities like Galway, Kilkenny and Derry had looked at it before and decided not to go ahead because of the running costs.
Independent Cllr Michael Kilcoyne and Fianna Fáil Cllr Blackie Gavin supported Cllr Durcan’s calls for a 50-metre pool, while Fianna Fáil Cllr Lisa Chambers said that she could only support the idea if there was a guarantee from central government to support the running costs of the pool.
Director of services for Mayo County Council, Paddy Mahon, urged the councillors not to try to move ahead with the idea of upgrading the pool in size as there had been funding agreed for the 25-metre pool and the design stage for the project was well advanced, with the tender stage was very close to being ready to go. Chairperson of the Municipal District Council Cllr Al McDonnell said that the councillors and officials should meet again in two weeks to discuss the pool and have all the relevant details of costs and submissions for that meeting, as some of the members of the Municipal District Guild were not members of the former town council and would not have seen all the relevant information when the decision was made. But he also pointed out that there may be an issue with the selected 25-metre pool having already received Part Eight planning permission for that project and not for a bigger one.