An online petition aiming to save Portlaoise Leisure Centre has been launched.
Set up in the name of the staff of the facility, more than 2,000 people have thus far signed it.
Due to financial difficulties, it was confirmed yesterday that Portlaoise Leisure Centre would not reopen again.
Instead, is to close with immediate effect with the loss of 30 jobs. News of this has been met with widespread shock and sadness.
Hundreds of people have taken to social media in the last day to voice their displeasure with the decision and now this petition has been created.
It says: “The recent closure of Portlaoise Leisure Centre has affected hundreds of individuals, groups, clubs and communities.
“We need to reopen the Leisure Centre so as the people of Portlaoise and the wider community have a place to be active and take care of their mental and physical wellbeing.
“This vital amenity has been shut down by the local authority and cannot be left vacant, this fine facility is now lying empty and derelict, the beating heart of Portlaoise town and all surroundings areas needs your help to get it back up and running again.
“The vital facilites that this crucial amenity offers to able and less able bodied people and groups is so important it cannot be overlooked.
“The health and welfare of our community should be of the highest importance as a service led centre for all.”
Local TDs have also called for a change in the decision to close down the facility.
Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “I am both shocked and dismayed to learn of the sudden closure of Portlaoise Leisure Centre.
“The leisure centre and pool has been a tremendous resource for the people of Portlaoise and surrounding areas for the past number of years. The closure is unthinkable and must be reversed.
“I will work closely with Laois County Council and do everything to assist with an early re-opening of the centre.
“I have been in contact with the Department of Sport and my colleague Minister Brendan Griffin regarding the matter.”
While Sinn Fein’s Brian Stanley said: “The closure of Portlaoise Leisure Centre is very bad news for the staff and the community. There is a very committed team working there.
“I was a member of the committee of the old swimming pool which was on the same site and campaigned in the 1990’s and for subsequent years to have a new centre built on the site.
“I don’t believe that the centre should be closed. Instead what is needed is a plan to develop and promote the services in it. Portlaoise Leisure Centre is a great facility has huge potential.
“I will be engaging with the management of Laois County Council to urge them to move ahead with a plan to reopen the centre as soon as possible.”