Laois County Council sets out a plan for future of 'liquidated' Covid-19 hit leisure centre

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

portlaoise

Irish soccer legent Packie Bonner officialy opend the new Portlaosie Leisure Centre in 2008.

Laois County Council says it is committed to ensuring the Portlaoise Leisure Centre will be open to the public.

The council, which owns the building and associated sporting facilities, issued as a statement after it emerged that the company licenced to run the business is going out of business.

The board of management, which includes county councillors, has been closed since March. Liquidation was blamed on the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Laois County Council notes with deep regret the decision of the Board of the Portlaoise Leisure Centre Company to put the company into liquidation. The ongoing Covid 19 pandemic has had dire consequences for the sport, leisure and hospitality sectors in particular. In this regard the Portlaoise Leisure Centre has not been spared and it is doubly sad to witness the impact it has had on jobs and employment for those who had been working in the centre. 

"Portlaoise Leisure Centre CLG has operated the Portlaoise Leisure Centre under licence from Laois County Council since 2012 and in that time it has made a huge contribution to the lives of many young people in the county. The Council wishes to acknowledge the sterling work the staff of the company and its members who over a long number of years and in a voluntary capacity have provided a top class service to the community. 

"Laois County Council is anxious that the public investment in the Leisure Centre will continue to be available for the benefit of the public at large and to this end the Council will make every effort to ensure the future viability of the leisure complex. In addition, the Council will immediately arrange for refurbishment works to enhance the building and the site and to make sure it will be ready for use as soon as it is safe to do so and will also ensure the availability of pitches, the skate park and the playground in the short term," said the statement.

The Leinster Express asked about maintenance and if a review of the licencing arrangement would be carried out where by the council and not a company would run the facility directly.

"It is expected that the Portlaoise Leisure Centre Company will surrender the building and the site to Laois County Council very shortly at which point the Council will arrange for limited works to the building complex.

"The Council will also ensure that all plant and equipment will continue to be properly maintained and serviced; the options for interim maintenance are under active consideration given the recent and sudden developments.

"The  Council has confirmed that it will make every effort to ensure the future viability of the leisure complex,  however the options and methods to achieve the required viability will be considered in the period ahead but will be unlikely to include direct running by the Council," said a statement.

The new Portlaoise Leisure Centre opened to the public in December 2007.

Facilities include a swimming pool, gymnasium, meeting rooms, all-weather playing pitches and a playground.

Apart from Covid-19, the centre has come under pressure in recent times due to the arrival of a new Ben Dunne fitness centre in Portlaoise.

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