Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire sea baths have closed and face the prospect of never re-opening. Sports groups and locals are not happy.
For generations of Dublin families, Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire Baths meant a safe, clean swim in seawater.
Since the baths opened in the early 20th century, not one person has drowned in either pool. However, now the baths face closure by Dun Laoghaire Corporation. This could mean an end to safe swimming.
On a sunny summer's day, over 3,000 people would crowd into Blackrock Baths alone. Blackrock Baths also has the only Olympic diving platform in Dublin. It is also the main base for Leinster's three thousand water polo players in the summer months.
Speaking to RTÉ News Brother Philip of the Water Polo Association believes that the closure will mean the end of water polo as we know it, as other pools do not have the same capacity and do not have the depth required. In an effort to prevent the permanent closure, the Polo Association has made an offer to the corporation involving the management of the pool. Negotiations with the corporation are ongoing.
Dun Laoghaire resident Valerie Smith has organised opposition to the closing of the baths, collecting over seven thousand signatures. Over 4,000 people attended a protest meeting organised by Valerie's group the previous night. Valerie highlights the importance of the pool as a local amenity, especially for young people.
It's a whole social need for the area.
Dun Laoghaire Corporation says that it is not just the swimming pools that are short of money with other amenities such as libraries lacking funds.
Cathaoirleach of Dun Laoaghire Corporation Donal Marren, while recognising the value of the baths, says that the money to maintain and manage the baths just isn't there.
There is a necessity for greater financing of local authorities, whatever that may be.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 June 1982. The reporter is Conall O Móráin.