Plans for a major new outdoor swimming centre, complete with diving boards, an Olympic-sized pool and saunas are just another waste of public money, according to Shane Coleman.
The new plan has been put forward in place of the scrapped €23m white-water facility that was earmarked for George’s Dock.
The proposed ‘public lido’ includes a five-lane Olympic pool, diving boards, children’s pools and the opportunity for an outdoor ice-rink and Christmas markets in the winter.
— Emma Tyrrell (Ní Riain) (@EmmaNiRiain) July 13, 2022
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, presenters Shane Coleman and Ciara Kelly had very different views on the plan.
“It doesn’t float my boat,” said Shane.
“I did like the idea of the white-water rafting; to me that was big and bold and ambitious.
“This is unimaginative and unexciting. Everybody says it’ll be brilliant and it’ll be fantastic because they’re thinking of weather like yesterday and the day before, but will it be used 300 days a year? I don’t think it will personally.
“People say, oh look sea swimming, people will be there with their dry robes and stuff – they won’t. That’s sea swimming, it’s a very different thing.
“I worked in an outdoor swimming pool - admittedly a long time ago - and it closed. All those outdoor swimming pools around the country close and they close for a reason – because they’re weather dependent.”
He said the money could be spent on bigger and better things – noting that Parnell Square could be renovated to become a new public plaza.
“In good weather, people would be sitting out having their dinner and drinks there, but it’s sadly neglected at the top of our main throughfare.
“To me, that would be a much better use of the money. I’m disappointed with it; I think it lacks ambition.”
Ciara disagreed completely, insisting: “I think this is a wonderful amenity for the north inner city.”
“I don’t agree with you. I think, first of all, this is totally different to the white-water rafting thing. The white-water rafting, they were touting an admission of €50 a day for people, which makes it very expensive for anyone, especially families.
“This, they think will have a price point of about €6 or €7, which makes it much more accessible.”
She said the pandemic has seen a complete change in the way Irish people use our public spaces.
“We didn’t always eat outdoors or sea swim – loads of things have changed and our relationship with the outdoor environment has changed,” she said.
“This money is earmarked for a public amenity and I think this is a great amenity for the inner city. Yes, maybe on some rainy days it won’t be used but neither will Parnell Square – there won’t be people sitting out there on Parnell Square on rainy days.
“Also, what about all the people that live in the north inner city? People living in flats and houses and apartments in that area that don’t have an amenity like this on their doorstep.
“I think it is a good thing, Spend some money on public spaces. If we want to have high-density housing, we have to have better public spaces.”
Shane agreed that we need to invest in our public spaces but insisted: “My argument is, I don’t think it will be used. I think it’s a bad use of money.”