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Michael McDowell calls white-water rafting facility a 'grotesque vanity project'

The former Tánaiste called on the Government to intervene to stop the tendering process.

SENATOR MICHAEL MCDOWELL has given a scathing criticism of Dublin City Council’s plans for a white-water rafting facility, calling it a “political obscenity” and a “grotesque vanity project”. 

The Council is currently gauging expressions of interest for the construction of a €22.8 million ‘flagship’ white-water rafting facility planned for the Custom House Dock, which has been strongly criticised for being developed in the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis. 

McDowell, the former leader of the Progressive Democrats who served as Tánaiste and Minister for Justice in the 2000s, said the facility “is a political obscenity in the context of the calamitous failure of the Council to address the crisis of housing shortage for many years”.

“The threadbare excuse for this grotesque vanity project is that it is needed to train fire brigade personnel. That is absurd,” the independent Senator said in a statement last night.

 I am calling on the Government and the Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to withdraw the tender process and to indicate that there will be no funding to the council as long as the tender project is proceeding. 

“More than €1 million has already been wasted on the project.

“Shame on the craven councillors who have not stopped the process months ago.”

The Council said that more than half of funding for the project – €13 million – would be covered through Government grants, with a further €4.9 million covered through development levies, and another €4 million coming from capital reserves. 

However, TheJournal.ie previously learned that a €6.6 million grant application was refused by the government.

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The project, which has been delayed last year because of the pandemic, will include a white-water rafting course, swift-water rescue training facility and a kayaking and canoe polo pool area at George’s Dock on the River Liffey. 

The Council also aims to create a central island with a canoe polo pool, including a kayak and canoe conveyor, pumping station, swift-water rescue training centre and a “floodable urban street”.

With reporting from Cónal Thomas. 

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