A protest against plans to demolish the Markievicz Leisure Centre on Townsend Street to make way for the MetroLink begins this evening at 5pm.

This follows the Department of Transport’s decision to abandon the Luas Green Line link up plans with the Metro following protests and revelations that it would disrupt the line for up to four years.

A demolition of the Markievicz Pool and Gym to build an underground station underneath was proposed but has been met with protests from local residents.

John Dean, chair of Save Markievicz Pool & Gym, has said around 150 inhabitants will be affected by the the MetroLink proposal. According to Deane, not only will homes be uprooted but it will lead to less leisure resources.

“It is the only 25m public pool located in the city centre and it is the only accessible swimming pool in the city centre”.

In the Markivecz community pool, over 65s are allowed in for free.

“It has a historical significance too, with many residents learning how to swim at the pool and teaching their children how to swim there. Leisure resources are already underrepresented in the area”.

Eoghan Ó Ceannabhain, People Before Profit candidate for Dublin Rathdown, has said this is “another sign of social cleansing of the working class” by the current government.

“Just down the road from Markievicz, the old Moss Street flats have been seized up by the private sector for hotels. They want to push the working class out of the city centre”.

Ó Ceannabhain also mentioned the gym and pool were refurbished not long ago, costing around €1 million.

Green Party leader Eamonn Ryan believes that the “devil is in the detail” of the planning of the MetroLink within the southside.

Ryan believes that the government should look into alternative proposals “more urgently” and to be “more ambitious”. Ryan suggested metro routes extending out to places like Rathfarnam and Tallaght, a place “lacking public transport options”.

The protest begins at 5pm outside the Leisure Centre at Townsend Street and will make its way to Dáil Eireann by 6pm.

By Aoibhin Bryant

Image Credit: likealocalguide.com

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