Roscrea Credit Union Saves Swimming Pool Project
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By Liza Roche
Roscrea Swimming Pool Project was given a new lease of life on the evening of May 10th when Roscrea Credit Union came to the rescue with a 1.27m Euro package. There was great jubilation in the town as the announcement was made at a press conference in the Credit Union offices.
The project has been at a standstill for the past eighteen months as confusion reigned over a 1m donation promised on behalf of Dr. Tony Ryan, by Minister for Defence Michael Smith, to the project over three years ago. However the Credit Union, in the best illustration of the ethos of this movement, has now stepped into the breach.
Describing it as a momentous decision John Gunnell Treasurer of Roscrea Credit Union explained that the package consisted of loans and contributions which would enable the Swimming Pool Company to secure the grant aid of 3.81million Euro to proceed with the pool development at the 5 acre Dublin Road site.
He said the swimming pool would be a great asset to the town which already had a proud sporting history in a number of disciplines. Mr. Gunnell explained that the Swimming Pool Company and RCTLC met to discuss this proposal and that they had accepted the Credits Proposal. He added that he wanted to dispel any notions that the move was politically motivated considering the timing. He said that the reason the announcement was made at this was because there was a genuine fear that the 3.81million Euro Departmental funding could have been lost to another town after the elections.
Pictured at the Credit Union announcement of funding for the Roscrea Swimming Pool are L/R: Noel Ryan, Ray McCArthy, John Gunnell,
Sean Mulrooney, John Lupton, Brendan Wright
However he said now that the money had been found, they expected that the works would commence at the site as soon as possible. Concluding Mr. Gunnell said that this commitment demonstrated what could be achieved by a community working together in a positive manner. He also paid tribute to John Lupton chairman of RCTLC and the Board for their work on this project to date and also to the County Councillors who he said kept the swimming pool issue live.
Mr. Noel Ryan Vice -Chairman of Roscrea Credit Union also spoke apologising for the absence of the Chairman, David Donnelly, Minister Smith and George Cunningham whom he said were unable to attend. Mr. Ryan referred the various projects over the years that the Credit Union has contributed to including a Sports Hall at Colaiste Phobal, the Sponsorship of the People of the Year Awards and the establishment and maintenance of the town website - www.roscreaonline.com.
However he said this was the largest project ever undertaken by Roscrea Credit Union and added that they were delighted to be associated with a project which he said was first mooted by Muintir na Tire in the 1950s. Mayor of North Tipperary County Council and Chairman of the Swimming Pool Company Cllr. Sean Mulrooney described the evening as a great occasion in the history of the town. He said it was an unbelievable offer made by the Credit Union and paid tribute to the board and management. He also paid tribute to John Lupton and RCTLC who put up with ten years of frustration. Cllr. Mulrooney explained that the swimming pool project had been set up to run and build the pool but that they ran into funding difficulties. He said over past 12-14 months a lot of doors had been slammed in his face. He added that there were other promises hanging out there and that they were not closing them off by accepting this.
However he said they were now ready to get started and hoped that by September they would be ready to go for planning permission and that by 2005 they would be seeking tenders for the project. Concluding Cllr. Mulrooney said this was a proud day for everyone in Roscrea. Chairman RCTLC, Mr. John Lupton described the news as fantastic. He said that in the past he was not very good at saying thank you but that this was an occasion for saying thank you to Roscrea Credit Union.
Mr. Lupton recalled the history of the Swimming Pool movement which he claimed actually began in the 1930s. He paid tribute to those who began this movement and also to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Convent who had so generously contributed to the project. He said that without their help there would have been no announcement.
Mr. Lupton said he appreciated the good will shown by the people of Roscrea towards this project and especially the members of the Credit Union. Concluding he said that he now hoped that the best possible facility would be built on the Dublin Road site for the benefit of the people. Deputy County Manager, Mr. Paddy Heffernan apologised for the absence of Mr. Terry ONiadh who, he said was currently out of the country. He paid tribute to the Credit Union saying that the move epitomised the role of the Credit Union in a community. Concluding he gave a commitment that North Tipperary County Council would do whatever was possible to hasten the day when the swimming pool would be open for business.