Tuesday, 5 July 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
207. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if there is any funding available for a swimming pool in Baltimore, County Cork; if so, the potential sources of funds; the way the operators of the pool may apply, given this facility needs help to keep its doors open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36033/22]
My Department recognises the importance of the leisure sector and the positive impact that swimming has on the nation’s health. However, my Department does not provide funding for the ongoing operational cost of swimming pools or leisure centres. My Department’s direct role in relation to swimming pools is primarily related to providing capital support for the development of such facilities. The day to day financial management of public swimming pools is a matter for the operators of the facilities themselves.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic however, my Department provided funding of €2.5 million in 2020 to support publicly accessible swimming pools in responding to the challenges associated with maintaining swimming pools and re-opening within Covid-19 safety protocols. A further amount of €3.2 million was provided in 2021 for this purpose in recognition of the importance of the sector and the positive impact swimming has on the nation’s health. The funding was administered by Ireland Active on behalf of Sport Ireland and supported 280 pools throughout the country including the pool referred to by the Deputy.
Recent global events, including the invasion of Ukraine, have led to a rise in energy costs. The Government has already implemented a number of measures to help ease the impact on enterprises, and further details are available on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s website.
In terms of future policy, the Sports Action Plan 2021-2023, which was published in November 2021, contains an action to develop and implement a National Swimming Strategy to provide additional swimming opportunities indoors and outdoors. Initial preparatory work has been undertaken by my Department in this regard. It is intended to establish a working group in the near future to take forward the detailed work of preparing a national swimming strategy, with a view to its completion and publication later this year. Any recommendations in this strategy will be fully considered when deciding on the future funding provision for swimming pools.