Following Ireland Active’s funding application on behalf of the sector, we welcome the announcement of €5 million in funding for swimming pools in 2024 under Phase III of the Sports Energy Support Scheme. This support is a further acknowledgment by government of the pivotal role swimming pools play as essential resources for schools, clubs, and communities nationwide.

Ireland Active would like to thank Minister Martin, Minister Byrne and Sport Ireland for their support in providing this funding to the sector.

The funding will contribute to the viability of swimming pools nationwide by assisting with energy costs which continue to be an ongoing challenge for operators. This funding is an important measure to assist with the significant costs of operating a swimming pool. The funding will be available to operators in both the private and public sectors that provide swimming lessons in their pools.

The funding will be administered by Ireland Active to all eligible facilities with applications opening in February 2024. Further information on eligibility and the application process will be available on the Ireland Active website.

Commenting on the announcement, Ireland Active CEO Karl Dunne said:

“We are delighted to have secured this much needed support for the sector following significant engagement with the Department of Sport and Sport Ireland. Swimming pools are an integral part of communities across the country, with swimming being the second most popular sporting activity in Ireland. Swimming pools have a disproportionate cost base and this funding assists with the ongoing energy costs which have negatively impacted swimming pools over recent years. “

Also speaking about the announcement, Minister Martin said:

“This investment will help further alleviate the impact of increased energy costs on sports clubs and organisations, allowing them to continue to provide communities with access to sports facilities. Support for sport remains a priority for this government. Since 2020, €177 million in COVID-19 funding has been provided to sector, which when combined with the €29 million distributed under the Sports Energy Support Scheme, means that over €200 million in additional funding has been invested in the sector over the last four years. The government remains committed to increasing the annual sports budget allocation to €220 million by 2027 and this is reflected in the increased budget allocation for 2024.”

In addition, Minister Byrne said:

“As a Government, we want to boost participation levels in all sports, across all sectors of society. In order to achieve this aim, we are determined to provide financial support to the sporting community, which meets its needs. The Sports Energy Support Scheme has greatly assisted sports organisations and clubs to remain viable, allowing them to continue the great work they do, in promoting positive health and wellbeing throughout our country. I particularly welcome the allocation of €5 million to publicly accessible Swimming Pools as we work towards the publication of Ireland’s first National Swimming Strategy. I thank Sport Ireland for their hard work in administering this scheme over the past year.”

Speaking on behalf of Sport Ireland, Dr. Úna May said:

“The further extension of the Sports Energy Support Scheme demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting our sports clubs and facilities across the country. In total, €29 million in government funding has been distributed by Sport Ireland under the Scheme. This funding has significantly mitigated the impact of increased energy costs on sports clubs and organisations and allowed them to focus on their primary goal of increasing access to sport and physical activity.”