Kerry County Council is to decide shortly whether to take over the running of a pool and leisure centre which it underwrote to the tune of €4m.
The council had backed the Ballybunion centre in 2005 while former arts, sports, and tourism minister John O’Donoghue was in office. The project also had the full backing of current arts minister and local TD, Jimmy Deenihan.
The centre, which has more than 400 members and employs 12 people, closed in April because it could no longer pay its electricity bill. The 20m swimming pool and centre was being run by a local development company.
In 2005, after a request by the Department of Arts, Sport, and Tourism, the council agreed to provide a guarantee to repay almost €4m in grants should the centre close prematurely — or operate the pool themselves.
The council confirmed a draft rescue plan is being considered. It is also in consultation with officials to examine long-term implications for the local authority.
Mr Deenihan was confident the centre could be “rescued”. “It will have to be retained because of its immense benefit to the area as a tourist and local amenity which is also used by schools.”
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