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huge cost Government refuses to fund Dublin city white-water rafting project

It is estimated the facility would cost €25.4m, according to the council, which has sought €19m from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

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The white water rafting facility proposed for the Dublin Docklands.

The white water rafting facility proposed for the Dublin Docklands.

The white water rafting facility proposed for the Dublin Docklands.

The Government has refused to fund a controversial whitewater rafting project proposed by Dublin City Council. 

It is estimated the facility would cost €25.4m, according to the council, which has sought €19m from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund - noting it would be a major tourist draw.

However, Minister for Housing and Local Government Darragh O’Brien turned down the request for funding from the scheme, which is set aside for the rejuvenation of Irish cities and large towns.

Minister O’Brien said: “Any plans for the further advancement of this or any other proposed development for George’s Dock is a matter for Dublin City Council.”

This was in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, who said he would be “sceptical” of the project and suggested an outdoor swimming pool or lido could be more appropriate and more cost-effective.

He added: “If Dublin City Council can make the case that this is a national sporting necessity, then more power to them. It is back to the council and its councillors now to support it.”

The project was initially given the green light by Dublin City councillors in December 2019.

The proposed site is George’s Dock on the North quays, beside the IFSC, and the motion was passed by a majority of 37 votes to 19.

The facility includes a simulated white-water slalom course and flat pool that can be used for rafting, kayaking and canoeing.

It is intended to be a major tourist attraction, but will also be used as a water rescue training facility for Dublin Fire Brigade and visiting fire brigades from around the world.

The facility would take about 18 months to build and would take over the now vacant space beside the Epic Immigration Museum.

Director of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn described the proposal as “crazy” given that Ireland is in the middle of a housing crisis.

“When this was first proposed to us, the council had estimated that it would cost €12m,” he said.

“Now, it has risen to an astronomical €22m and who is to say that it won’t increase further?

“The council also wants this to be built in 18 months, but we can’t even build houses that fast.

“I just find it unbelievable that DCC can splash out this much money on a facility when there are thousands of people without a home. They’re completely out of touch with reality and it seems all these decisions are being forced down councillors throats,” he said.

Other city councillors have given their support to the development with former Lord Mayor Christy Burke describing the current barren basin as an ugly site.

"It reminds you of a huge open grave that’s just left there. So I welcome this with open arms,” he said.


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