A WEST CORK Senator has said the fact that Bandon – which is the biggest town in West Cork – does not having a swimming pool means parents are waiting up to two years to secure swimming lessons for their children.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard raised the issue in the Seanad and called on the Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht Jack Chambers to hold a debate on the provision of public swimming pools.
‘There is a huge issue about how we actually provide access to swimming and swimming lessons for the public and in some cases people are waiting two years to access swimming lessons,’ said Sen Lombard. ‘We live in a beautiful part of the world with amazing beaches and access to water but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avail of swimming lessons.’
He highlighted the current situation at West Cork’s only public swimming pool in Dunmanway, which he said is only operating at ‘half capacity’ despite being owned by the State.
‘It’s so frustrating and makes no logical sense but the big debate is how we move this issue forward. We need to look at how the local authority manages its assets but also we need to look at providing public pools.’
Sen Lombard said a programme needs to be put in place to deliver these public facilities and sporting capital grants could be looked into to deliver this.
‘The biggest town in West Cork is Bandon and it has no swimming pool in the town itself and if you want to get swimming lessons for your children in Bandon you could be waiting anything up to two years, which isn’t good enough.
‘We need to have a vision and a change on this because we all should have access to swimming pools and lessons.’
Meanwhile, Dunmanway Municipal Pool is still only open from Tuesday to Saturday despite restrictions having been lifted.
Cork County Council confirmed that there is still no date for the recommencement of swimming classes at the pool.