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Council staff get gym offer as our pools suffer

DUBLIN City Council has found itself in hot water after offering staff a corporate discount at a private gym while three city pools face the chop.

The email, which was sent to the council's general staff list, pointed out that staff could join Total Fitness gym at a discount -- and better rates would be given if more staff signed up.

Campaigners who have been fighting all year to save three of Dublin's swimming pools -- in Coolock, Crumlin, and Sean McDermott street -- have branded the email "appalling".

A spokesperson for the Save Our Swimming Pool campaign, Gerry McGuigan, said: "I'm disgusted with it. They should be promoting their own local facilities and helping them to be maintained.

"It's like if I had a sweet shop and I sent customers down the road to buy the sweets," he added.

Cllr Niall Ring says he is angry and disappointed at the news that council staff have done a deal with UK-owned Total Fitness in Castleknock, Malahide Road and Sandyford fitness clubs.

""I really cannot believe this offer is being made to staff when on their own doorstep, there are first-class leisure facilities as good as, and in most cases better than, those offered by private operators."





Madness

Dublin City Council says it cannot comment on whether the three at-risk pools will be kept open from the end of this year since funding of all council services is a matter for the Council's 2011 budget.

But Cllr Ring stressed: "In the last year we have had a battle with the council to ensure the continued operation of the pools at Sean McDermott Street, Coolock and Crumlin and yet it is being suggested that staff should support outside facilities. This beggars belief".

Council staff members who are in favour of the three pools being kept open are "justifiably angry" at this development which is "pure madness," he stressed.

One staff employee told the Herald: "I would have thought that Dublin City Council staff would be recommended to use Dublin City Council sites."

A council spokesperson confirmed that the email was sent to the general staff list by the social clubs email.

"A staff member who was interested in joining (Total Fitness) pursued the possibility of a discount for council staff. The staff member did this on his or her own initiative."

hnews@herald.ie