CONSTRUCTING something like the Lahinch Leisure Centre on a new green field site would cost between €17 and €18 million compared to the €6 million it cost to refurbish the existing facility, according to a former manager.
Councillor Joe Garrihy said the new revamp, which was done at about 30% of the cost of a new building, represents great value for money.
Urging community groups in towns to look at what has been achieved in Lahinch, Councillor Garrihy said a new leisure centre, public toilets, rescue centre, public realm works and upgraded
Lahinch Sportsfield are now all within walking distance.
“When community, state agencies and stakeholders work together collectively, you can achieve a lot more. We now have a centre that will generate year-round business with tourism providing the cherry on top.”
Councillor Garrihy said a state-of-the-art facility had to be provided when the roof started leaking years ago and was close to blowing away.
When the Fine Gael councillor was manager from 2013 to 2019, he recalled funding wasn’t available to carry out the major refurbishment that was needed.
He paid tribute to the enormous dedication and professionalism of staff he worked with previously such as Carol Lane, who managed their finances, during difficult times.
“We went through the storms of 2013 when the roof was nearly blown off and the place was completely flooded and closed.
“We were always working towards what a new centre would look like engaging with agencies such as the Tipperary Energy Agency to establish what work was required.
Lahinch Leisure Centre Manager Eoin Conlan said the centre provides an additional attraction for day trippers and tourists coming to North Clare.
The centre employs 25 staff during the peak season including lifeguards, gym instructors, receptionists and maintenance staff.
The Doora native played with Doora Barefield GAA club at underage level, completed a degree in exercise and health studies in Waterford, came home, travelled the world for a period and then completed a Masters degree in Health and Promotion at the University of Limerick.
He now lives in Abbeyville, Ennis, with his wife, Michelle and three children.
“The centre is a holiday and a membership facility. It was closed for two and a half years and only opened up again on April 22. The support from throughout North Clare since we opened has been fantastic.
“From infants taking their first steps into the water to the swimming club, schools, adult classes and people recovering from injury or surgery, the pool is open to everyone.
“Our fitness gym is home to the finest equipment in Clare and boasts the most panoramic views of any Leisure Centre in the country. We look forward to encouraging and advocating people to reach their Health and fitness goals for many years to come.”