Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, today announced a €2.5 million funding package for swimming pool operators across the country. The leisure, health and fitness sector welcome the announcement by Sport Ireland, and the acknowledgement of the importance of the sector and the impact swimming has on the nation’s health. Ireland Active were appointed by Sport Ireland to administer the swimming pool grant scheme, supported by partners Swim Ireland.
Speaking on today’s announcement, Joe Cosgrove, Chairperson of Ireland Active said:
“The funding being allocated today will provide relief for swimming pool operators who have been severely hit by the pandemic. This investment will help swimming pool operators continue to provide safe and essential services which is vital to sustain swimming and maintain high physical activity levels. The recognition of Government around the operational and financial difficulties, with the high energy costs of maintaining swimming pools whilst closed, and the challenges of re-opening with reduced capacities is appreciated. It will provide some much-needed financial assistance to the entire sector and has given organisations the confidence to continue trading through these difficult times”.
Swimming pools provide a vital resource for clubs and communities across the country and it is important that this infrastructure is maintained during these challenging times. This investment will help swimming pool operators continue to provide safe and essential service which is vital to sustain swimming and maintain high physical activity levels.
Sport Ireland Press Release excerpt:
Minister Martin said: “While it is appreciated that this is a difficult time for swimming pool operators across the country, the funding announced today will provide financial stability to the sector in the uncertain months ahead. Earlier this year, I announced a significant increase in the budget for sport in 2021. This will also provide further resilience to the sport sector as we look to emerge from the current crisis.”
Minister Chambers added: “Swimming Pool operators have demonstrated their resilience throughout the pandemic. It is important that this resilience continues into the weeks and months ahead as we look to emerge from this crisis. The funding announced today will assist swimming pool operators in getting everyone active and keeping them active. This has never been more important and is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing.”
It has been recognised that the changing environment of restrictions has resulted in uncertainty and difficulty in planning for swimming pool operators across the country. This has been taken into consideration by Government with funds being ring-fenced specifically to address this issue.
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said: “The 2019 Irish Sports Monitor highlighted swimming to be the second most popular sport amongst adults with 300,000 participating each week. Swimming pools provide a vital resource for clubs and communities across the country. Swimming greatly contributes to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities right across the country and I look forward to seeing pools reopen and people returning to the water in line with public heath advice”.
Read Sport Ireland release in full here