Deputy Frank Feighan has given a guarded welcome to news that Roscommon County Council has been given the go-ahead to proceed to the design brief stage for the development of Ballaghaderreen swimming pool, but said that the move is long overdue. ‘This news is welcome, though long overdue. Since my election to the Oireachtas in 2002, I have been consistent in highlighting this issue in both the Upper House and in Dáil Éireann. This news only means that that Department have given the local authority permission to undertake a preliminary report and design – unfortunately the provision of a new swimming pool is still some way off. ‘It is important to remember that Minister Brennan’s Department have given no undertaken to date to proceed with the development of a new swimming pool, despite overwhelming evidence supporting the need of such a leisure facility. ‘Twelve months ago, local residents voiced their support for the project by logging onto www.roscommoncoco.ie filling out a questionnaire to highlight the need for such a swimming pool. Not only this, but I received and continue to receive numerous representations on this issue to my office in Ballaghaderreen – which I have brought, in person, to the attention of staff dealing with this matter at Roscommon County Council. ‘As the residents of north and west Roscommon will testify, this need is backed up by unanimous support from the local community, evidenced by a submission by the local Districts Development Company to Minister Brennan’s predecessor, John O’Donoghue, over two years ago. ‘The Department stand accused of foot dragging on this issue. Despite the aforementioned submission by local residents supporting the project and an earlier feasibility study submitted by Roscommon County Council, the Minister’s Department have yet to commit themselves to this project. ‘The people of Ballaghaderreen have waited too long for a new state-of-the-art swimming pool. The area is one of the fastest growing in the county, with considerable residential development in recent years. ‘Ballaghaderreen is arguably the industrial hub of the country and is also one of the main commercial centres in Roscommon. However, either Minister Brennan or his predecessor fail to recognise this when responding to my many requests for progress on this matter. ‘Swimming as a pursuit has proven health, sport and social benefits for young and old alike. Such a facility would have major sporting benefits for young people, which would also keep young people off the streets. The pool would serve as a major health and social benefit for older people,’ concluded Deputy Feighan.