WITH almost all restrictions lifted since last week, public representatives have now called on Cork County Council to extend the opening hours of Dunmanway Municipal Pool and to also re-instate swimming lessons there.
Cork South West Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan said the pool is an important facility for West Cork and that people deserve to be able to make the most of it.
‘I will be writing to Cork County Council urging them to extend the opening hours and also remove the advanced booking system at the pool,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.
Deputy O’Sullivan also said he would be pressing for a return of swimming lessons, something that will be welcomed by many parents who were forced to travel to Kealkil in some instances to avail of swimming lessons over the past two years.
Within the past week, the pool has confirmed that the showers, sauna and steamroom have reopened but it is still only open five days a week.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard also raised the issue of the pool in the Seanad last week, which he said had received over €5.5m in taxpayers’ money four years ago for its complete revamp.
‘It’s been running at half capacity since and we have 25 hours opening at the moment running five days a week from 11am to 5pm and it’s closed on Sunday as well,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘Also the West Cork Orcas Swim Club which were based at the pool have no access to the facilities and currently there are no swimming lessons there for over two years. which is a disgrace.’
He queried if the taxpayer is getting value for money when facilities such as Dunmanway Municipal Pool have only limited access being given to members of the public.
‘Where does the national government fit in to make sure that we actually get value for money when we give money to local authorities? Because the local authority seems to be running around on this issue and not doing anything for the last four year in ensuring that services required in the community are delivered.’
Parents have also been vocal about the fact that no swimming lessons have taken place at the pool over the past two years, despite the fact that they have commenced in other Council-owned pools in the county.
At a recent West Cork Municipal District meeting, councillors were told that the recruitment process to recruit new pool assistants has been undertaken, with interviews expected to take place very soon.
Councillors have previously highlighted the staffing problem at the multi-million euro swimming pool and the fact that the pool is operating at reduced opening hours and is closed on some days.
The pool and gym is currently open from 11am to 5pm five days a week and is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Last October locals in Dunmanway set up an online petition calling for an increase in the opening hours of West Cork’s only public swimming pool, which gained over 1,500 signatures.