Two local Independent councillors have called on the Government to step in to ensure Ballinasloe swimming pool stays open, following concerns it could close due to funding issues.
Councillors Tim Broderick and Dr Evelyn Parsons have engaged with Galway County Council on keeping the pool open, subject to the latest public health advice, and they are supported by Roscommon-Galway TD Denis Naughton.
While the pandemic has affected Galway County Council’s budget, the councillors argue that it is already one of the lowest funded county councils in the country, and there are fears of knock-on effects on the delivery of services.
“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,” said Cllr Dr Evelyn Parsons.
“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.”
Dr Parsons said that the pool also 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,” she added.
Cllr Tim Broderick said that 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,” he said.
In addition, Denis Naughten TD has asked for a meeting with Minister Peter Burke who has responsibility for County Councils and their funding to see if a quick 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,” Deputy Naughten said.
“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.”