Councillors demand action on James Stephens pool

MEMBERS of Kilkenny Borough Council have called for action regarding the disused James Stephens swimming pool as the local authority weighs up the options for the building’s future.

MEMBERS of Kilkenny Borough Council have called for action regarding the disused James Stephens swimming pool as the local authority weighs up the options for the building’s future.

Earlier this year, an engineer’s report found that the building had a number of structural defects, but that it was not an insurmountable problem. However, both director of services John Mulholland and city manager Joe Crockett advised that demolishing the building would be the best course of action, pending a full mechanical and electrical report.

This view has not found favour with some of the members however, who understood they would have the report by Monday night’s meeting of the borough council.

“There is no support from the members whatsoever to have the James Stephens swimming pool demolished,” said Cllr Joe Reidy (FF).

“We are happy that there are uses it is not suitable for, but it may still have a use for local clubs or community groups.

“I understood this would be on the agenda tonight, and it is not. I think it needs to be discussed as soon as possible.”

Cllr Andrew McGuinness (FF) agreed with his colleague, saying that not using the building was a waste.

“I think it would be a great asset to Kilkenny,” he said.

Director of Services John Mulholland said an examination had taken place.

“We have done more work since and now have a fuller understanding of the mechanical and electrical situation,” he said.

“We have also run the rule over fire safety and exits, and there is work to be done there.”

Cllr Martin Brett (FG) said that the sooner the councillors were briefed on the updated situation the better.

“I was under the impression we would have a mechanical and electrical report for tonight,” he said.

“How long are you going to defer this for; when can we have it? There are local groups who are interested in this.”

His Fine Gael colleague Jimmy Leahy said that the cost of building a new similar amenity to the James Stephens swimming pool from scratch, would be excessive, and repairs should instead be undertaken.

Mayor Sean O’ hArgain, who chaired the meeting, said there was not to be an argument about the matter at this time and there would be a complete report provided at the next meeting.