Ballybunion pool complex to reopen doors after locals raise €40,000
on 06/07/2012 00:00:00
The centre shut its doors without notice to staff or its 350 members.
However, the community and local businesses have since raised €40,000 to pay Energia, along with the Revenue Commissioners and insurance costs.
There is now an agreement to supply power to the centre until Sept 30, with Kerry County Council acting as a guarantor for the facility.
Centre manager Padraig Hanrahan yesterday said they had increased revenue and membership numbers, but that rising energy costs, which had gone out of control in recent years, led to difficulties.
The oil bill jumped from €35,000 in 2009 to €60,000 in 2011, he said.
"If we take out that factor (oil costs), every other cost is under control. The centre is very viable once we can keep energy costs down," Mr Hanrahan said.
An application has been made to the Department of Sport for a grant for a proposed heat and power plant which would result in a major drop in energy costs.
Power was switched on at the centre on Tuesday and the pool is due to be in operation by the weekend once the water has heated sufficiently. The gym is due to reopen today.
Like other seaside resorts, Ballybunion is having a poor season and, given the exceptionally wet summer to date, the weather-independent centre is seen as vital to the town for the July/August period.
Mr Hanrahan said there had been a significant drop in the resort's business associated with the closure of the centre.
Thanking the community and business interests for their contributions to the centre, he said it was clear they realised the importance of the centre to Ballybunion.
He said the 12 staff and other creditors would be paid once the centre started generating revenue again.
Locally-based Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Sports Minister Michael Ring, and Kerry County Council have been involved in efforts to reopen the centre.
The €5m centre, which received €3.8m in state funding, was opened in 2007.