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Leisure centre to finally reopen

SHANNON Leisure Centre is set to reopen on July 3, nearly a year and a half after it closed for refurbishment.
A campaign has been running for some weeks seeking the reopening of the facility, which closed in January 2009. At the time it was due to reopen 21 weeks later, but a dispute arose with the contractor causing a long delay and leaving staff out of work.
The facility will include a 25 metre swimming pool, gymnasium, skateboard park, climbing wall, two sports halls, a dance studio, floodlit outdoor tennis courts and a café.
Details of the reopening were announced in a press release from the Leisure Centre’s board last Monday, which stated the reopening would result in the creation of 18 jobs. However, this figure ignores the fact that a similar amount of workers have been out of work since the closure.
Councillor Patricia McCarthy said that the facility would be a valuable facility for the community.
“The Shannon Swimming and Leisure Centre will cater for the recreational needs of all members of the local community and also will host summer camps, school tours and gymnastics clubs from the wider Mid-West region. Once opened, the centre will further enhance Shannon town’s status as great place to live, work and visit.”
The project is being financed by corporate donations, borrowings and grant aid while Clare County Council makes an annual grant contribution towards the ongoing costs of the facility (€78,000 for 2009 and 2010).
The Save Shannon Pool group have run a Facebook campaign seeking the reopening of the centre, and organised a large-scale protest outside a meeting of Shannon Town Council.
In a statement they welcomed news of the reopening, but disputed the figures given regarding jobs, and called for more engagement with the community.
“We are pleased to hear the news, announced today, of the resumption of work at Shannon Leisure Centre, and the announcement that the centre will reopen on Saturday, July 3.
“We question the claim regarding the creation of 18 new jobs. Are these in addition to the current complement of staff? Not wishing to be pedantic about the press release issued, but we believe it is essentially window dressing and designed to take the increasing pressure off the board, pressure that has grown since the facebook campaign began.
“We don’t have the benefit of a PR company to issue statements on our behalf and we believe the board should meet publicly with the community. We also consider that the information contained in the press release could have been made available to us before today.”

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