Clients ‘frustrated’ over closures of leisure centres

Clients ‘frustrated’ over closures of leisure centres

By Maurice Garvey

LEISURE centres in Tallaght, Clondalkin and Lucan remain shut, despite calls for them to re-open.

The centres closed to comply with the lockdown, but with other amenities gradually re-opening in recent weeks, customers and local representatives are seeking answers.

Tallaght Leisure Centre compressor 1

Tallaght Leisure Centre

Ballyfermot Leisure Centre re-opened its swimming pool (on a pre-booking basis) a few weeks ago, although the gym remains closed.

South Dublin County Council own three centres, but they are independently managed by South County Dublin Leisure Services (SCDLS).

The Echo understands talks have taken place between the two parties but no definite re-opening date has been determined, leaving hundreds of members in limbo.

In a letter sent to local councillors on Friday, July 31, the council said “it is disappointing that the company has not yet re-opened the facilities.”

The letter mentions supports provided in the council’s Revenue Budget for 2020 for the operation of centres, and various repurposed community grants supports announced at the July council meeting.

Ballyfermot Leisure Centre 1

Ballyfermot Leisure Centre

It considers additional measures to assist the company with re-opening along with “robust business plans/efficient operational arrangements/prudent cashflow management by the company, provide the basis for the immediate re-opening of the facilities.”

Company details for South County Dublin Leisure Services list James Morrissey from Tallaght, and Máire O’Sullivan as Directors.

The latest credit report for the company based on data for the financial year end December 31, 2018, indicate a modest turnover for the company.

Clondalkin Sports and Leisure Centre on Nangor Road is the registered address of the company, which employs 103 people.

The Echo tried to contact the three leisure centres on Tuesday and Wednesday, but could not get through. A note on their sites says they will “circulate our re-opening date as soon as possible.”

A number of customers have vented their frustration at the lack of communication by the company, and some have asked about refunds.

Clondalkin Leisure Centre and Tallaght Leisure Centre’s last Facebook post was on June 30.

Lucan Leisure Centre ran online fitness classes but these finished up last week.

Clondalkin Cllr William Carey (SF) said: “In my view, there is no reason why they should not open. A lot of people rely on these places. Not just members but there is usership by large groups.

“People want to know what’s going on, the public are being shut out. Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Ballyfermot and other places have all opened back up.”

Cllr Carey’s understanding of the company finances, is that there are enough supports in place for the centres to re-open.

“This is something that has to be addressed,” he said.

A SDCC spokesperson told The Echo: “The council supports the re-opening of the council-owned but independently managed leisure centres in Tallaght, Clondalkin and Lucan, and has requested confirmation of the re-opening date from the management company, South County Dublin Leisure Services.”

Asked about the possibility of refunds for customers, SDCC said queries on operational issue are a matter for the management company, South County Dublin Leisure Services.

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