ADDITIONAL support for Waterford swimming pool operators under the Covid-19 swimming pool grant scheme is being provided.
Waterford Fine Gael Senator welcomed the announcement and described the grant scheme as a “lifeline for a sector which has struggled with closures throughout the pandemic”.
Sport Ireland appointed Ireland Active, the representative body for the leisure, health and fitness sector, to administer the swimming pool grant scheme, supported by partners in Swim Ireland.
Senator Cummins said, “Like many sectors across our economy, it continues to be a very difficult time for swimming pool operators and the funding announced today, as well as that announced in December, will hopefully provide some stability in the months ahead. I am acutely conscious that despite continued closures, it still costs money to maintain facilities of this nature and this grant is a small recognition of this fact.”
The ongoing restrictions continue to cause uncertainty for swimming pool operators, which remain closed at the current Level 5. In December 2020, €2,386,519 was awarded to over 200 facilities across the country.
Senator Cummins added that as a Physical Education teacher, until his election to Seanad Eireann, “the importance of sport and physical activity cannot be underestimated as we face the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.”
“While sports facilities such as pools are currently closed, it is vitally important for our physical and mental health that we remain physically active within a 5km radius of our homes. I am hopeful that post March 5 we will see a gradual easing of restrictions on sport and sporting facilities,” he said.
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy said: “The high cost of maintaining pools while closed and the difficulty of reopening at reduced capacity is acknowledged by the Government and Sport Ireland. We are working with Ireland Active and Swim Ireland to ensure that pools are in a position to reopen to their communities in line with public health advice.”
Joe Cosgrove, Chairperson of Ireland Active, said: “It is important for local communities that sports facilities such as swimming pools are serviced and maintained throughout lockdown in order to ensure that reopening occurs when it is appropriate and safe to do so. The recognition of Government around the operational and financial difficulties of maintaining swimming pools whilst closed and the challenges of re-opening with reduced capacities is appreciated.”