Coral Leisure swimming pool in Ballinasloe.

Government urged to act to keep Ballinasloe pool open

Local Independent councillors Tim Broderick and Dr Evelyn Parsons have confirmed they are seeking Government intervention, with the support of Deputy Denis Naughten, to ensure Ballinasloe swimming pool remains open.

The councillors have engaged directly with Galway County Council on keeping the pool open, subject to prevailing public health guidance, following major concern regarding its continued operation with threats of possible closure over funding issues.

The pool is owned by Galway County Council and operated by Coral Leisure.

While increased funding requirements arising from pandemic conditions have impacted negatively on Galway County Council’s budgetary resources, the councillors have highlighted that it is already one of the lowest funded county councils in the country and there is a fear of knock on-effects on wider council service delivery.

“The pool is an essential resource for physical health and mental wellbeing for many in Ballinasloe and it serves the wider catchment area of East Galway,” Cllr Dr Evelyn Parsons stated.

“Ballinasloe Pool provides an invaluable service to people of all ages and abilities, including our sporting community, children’s swim lessons, those learning water safety, for rehabilitation and physiotherapy, to people with special needs and those differently abled. It helps in the fight against a rising tide of obesity and combats sedentary lifestyles as well as providing local employment. It is an activity highly used with the provision of tracker hoists facilitating disabled access and ensuring this facility remains open is a measure of how we value our vulnerable community and their carers.”

Cllr Tim Broderick added: “Additional resources are urgently needed at County Council level. We are calling for swift government intervention to ensure this vital amenity remains operational for our communities now and into the future.”

In addition, Denis Naughten has sought a meeting with Minister Peter Burke who has responsibility for County Councils and their funding to see if a speedy resolution can be found to this issue.

“Minister Burke confirmed the Government is committed to public swimming pools and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, has outlined the importance of swimming pools remaining open during and after this pandemic,” stated Denis Naughten.

“I have also raised the issue of funding for swimming pools during the pandemic with the Minister for Sport, Catherine Martin, and while I welcome €2.5m for private pools which are open to the public, I believe this does not go far enough and support must urgently be provided to publicly owned pools. I will continue to work with Cllrs. Parsons and Broderick in our determination to keep Ballinasloe pool open.”