Ballinakill outdoor pool, one of six to receive Covid support
Six public and commercial swimming pools in Laois are to receive another round of Covid emergency payments, as they continue to remain closed during the pandemic.
The swimming pools, three of which are in Portlaoise will share in €58,500 of Covid emergency payments, announced by Sport Ireland this Wednesday, February 16.
It follows on from a first smaller payment made in 2019.
Heritage Hotel, Laois: €7,131 (Total: €9,057)
Ballinakill Outdoor Pool: €9,275 (Total: €7,302)
Club Vitae, Maldron, Portlaoise: €9,966 (Total: €12,658)
Midlands Park Hotel Leisure Club: €9,794 (Total: €12,439)
Portarlington Leisure Centre: €11,168 (Total: €14,185)
Portlaoise Leisure Centre: €11,168 (Total: €14,185)
It is part of a €706,000 grant allocation for swimming pool operators across the country in the second and final phase of the €2.5m COVID-19 swimming pool grant scheme.
Laois Offaly Minister of State Senator Pippa Hackett welcomes the support.
“Even though we’re not using swimming pools during lockdown, it is important to keep them funded for when the restrictions lift. It has been a challenging time for swimming pool managers. I’m glad to see that pools in Laois are receiving the second of their Covid emergency payments to ensure they have the financial support they need.”
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD, and Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers TD welcome the allocations.
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 Swim Ireland.
The €2.5m funding scheme was announced as part of the July Stimulus package which aimed to support publicly accessible swimming pools respond to the challenge associated with maintaining swimming pools and the effort to reopen and remain open, within COVID-19 safety protocols, and to promote participation in the sport of swimming.
Minister Martin said: “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 provide some stability in the months ahead.”
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.
Commenting on the funding, Minister Chambers said: “In 2019 the Irish Sports Monitor identified swimming as the second most popular sport amongst adults. While pools have been closed due to the public health restrictions, this funding will help them to emerge from this crisis ready to welcome people back as soon as is safe to do so.”
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.”