01 July 2005

Red-faced Ahern concedes wind not to blame

Irish Independent

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern finally admitted yesterday that construction faults, and not "the wind", caused the roof of the National Aquatic Centre to come off.


Hmmm, lemme see them cracks again....

In an embarrassing climbdown, after previously claiming the wind was entirely to blame, Mr Ahern confirmed his pet project was damaged because of specific technical problems.

Amid calls for the Health and Safety Authority to investigate, he declined to comment on extensive cracks and leaks within the so-called 'Bertie Baths' at Abbotstown in west Dublin.

Blaming the centre's operators, Dublin Waterworld, for leaking reports of the damage to the building, Mr Ahern said he could not get into the matter as it was a High Court case.

After previously dismissing reports in the Irish Independent on the defects in parts of the building, Mr Ahern was forced yesterday to concede that he was wrong and described his wind comments as "witty".

The State company that owns the centre, Campus Stadium Ireland Development, now says there are specific faults and the wind should not have taken the roof off, Mr Ahern said.

"A wind of that strength, though it was strong that day, should not have taken it off," he said in an interview on 'The Last Word' on Today FM.

CSID is taking legal action against Dublin Waterworld as it claims the firm failed to repair and maintain the building properly. Dublin Waterworld says the building was defective from the beginning.

"What they [CSID] tell me is that they have been advised, as late as June 21, that there were no leaks, no cracks, no subsidences reported and CSID has requested Rohcon to investigate further the media reports," Mr Ahern said.

Fionnan Sheahan
Political Correspondent

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