Ballyfermot retirees criticize ‘scandalous’ increase in gym fees during protest

Ballyfermot retirees have criticized a “scandalous” increase in fees for access to facilities at their local leisure club and gym.

It is understood that Dublin City Council recently increased fees for those returning to the local Sport & Fitness leisure center on Blackditch Road after the restrictions on Covid-19 were relaxed.

Previously, the recreation center was always free for those over 65, but three years ago an administration fee of € 20 was introduced.

Now retirees will be billed € 15 per month under the new changes.

A resident told Dublin Live this week: “It’s awful, this should be free for anyone over 60.”

Another said: “It’s a whopping 180 euros a year, it’s ridiculous. Everyone has to resist this.”

Ballyfermot retirees came out to protest peacefully over increased fees at the leisure center

“After working their whole life, retirees should have access to a free gym. Solidarity with retirees,” said another.

“This is not the way to treat our retirees, who for the most part will not be able to afford it, to support our retirees,” said George Hynes, one of the organizers of the peaceful protest.

“We think an 800% increase is exorbitant and therefore we protest.”

People Before Profit TD and Brid Smith, from Ballyfermot, took to social media to praise residents for their work in bringing the issue to the fore.

She wrote: “Fair play to George Hynes and the Ballyfermot retirees who demonstrated outside the recreation center on Wednesday. A ridiculous increase in the price retirees would have to pay (180% increase!) Will not be tolerated. DCC says they have it. received no complaints. Well, they will.

“George and the band have decided to collect names on a petition, which will be presented to management on September 15. Contact us if you would like to sign.”

Demonstration at the Ballyfermot leisure center
Ballyfermot retirees with placards and placards protested against increased fees at the recreation center yesterday

Dublin City Council spent 45.5 million euros on the Ballyfermot leisure center which opened to the public at the end of 2008.

The project provided for the construction of a recreation center and a youth center with a total area of ​​approximately 7,400 m2.

The leisure center includes a 25m pool with movable floor, a gym, a gym and changing rooms while the youth center includes a performance area, a nursery, recording rooms and multi-functional rooms. .

The project also included the construction of six all-weather five-a-side football pitches.

Sports & Fitness Ballyfermot reopened in June 2021, operating under new government public health guidelines to protect customers and staff.

Many changes are now in place to allow people to resume exercise, with everyone now being asked to pre-book their workout.

The swimming pool at the Ballyfermot leisure center is used by all
Ballyfermot leisure center swimming pool

Dublin City Council responded to a question from Dublin Live to say that the annual charge of € 20 for retirees is “not considered membership, it is administration and registration fees”.

They added that the fee “covered off-peak swimming” but not access to swimming or other fitness classes.

They said: “Throughout 2020 and 2021, the facility was closed to the public, but the buildings, pool and fitness area all needed regular maintenance. service, and a low rate for people over 60 is € 2 per visit.

“A number of customers using the à la carte rate at € 2 per visit asked if there was another payment option, as they paid on average € 8 per week or € 32 / month (4 visits per week), taking this into account. DCC offered a subscription of € 15 per month (€ 1 for 4 visits per week), which gave customers a prepaid subscription that they can use as often as they want during the month.

“Another option for customers is to reactivate their previous prepaid membership, but all members must adhere to the current Covid19 terms and conditions. Some of our retirees took advantage of this as they purchased memberships for € 200 to participate in Encore fitness. once, if they were to go 2/3 classes per week, it would be cheaper than paying per fitness class. Currently, fitness classes are € 5.

“DCC would like to point out that the annual fee of € 20 for retirees is not considered a membership, they are administration / registration fees. These fees covered swimming during off-peak hours, but not access to swimming or other fitness classes ”.

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