Dunmanway pool hours are a ‘joke’

October 12th, 2021 11:45 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Members of the public queue up, under Covid-19 guidelines, outside Dunmanway pool

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THE reduced opening hours at West Cork’s only public swimming pool are forcing families to seek swimming lessons elsewhere, despite having a state-of-the-art facility on their doorsteps – a situation described as an ‘absolute joke.’

And even though Dunmanway Municipal Pool remains closed on Sundays and Mondays, the Council ironically says people need to start using it,  in order to make it viable.

At a meeting this week, councillors were unanimous in their call for longer opening hours for the facility.

A total of €5.5m was pumped into the facility four years ago, in a major revamp which resulted in a new 25m swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, steam room and sauna.

The pool is currently only open from 11am to 5pm five days a week, and is closed on Sundays and Mondays, while the gym area is open, but has no staff.

Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF) said she still can’t understand how the pool is only operating at off-peak hours when both Fermoy and Mallow pools are back operating at full service.

‘I’m being told now that kids are going to Kealkil to avail of swimming lessons there, because lessons haven’t resumed in Dunmanway,’ said Cllr Kelly.

Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said at this stage people are ‘just laughing at the whole scenario’ and it has become an ‘absolute joke.’

‘To have a state-of-the-art facility running at almost, but not even, half capacity at this stage is laughable, and people are annoyed and frustrated that they can’t access it,’ said Cllr Hurley, who called on the Council to inform the public of the situation.

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) said the Council needs to increase the opening hours in order to increase the usage.

Cllr Karen Coakley (FG) said it’s unfair for the children who are unable to use the facility, when at the same time they are encouraging them to get active and involved in sports.

Senior executive officer Mac Dara Ó h-Icí said that the footfall is down and it’s something that they are looking at, with a plan which will be in place in a couple of weeks.

‘People need to start using this facility to make it viable and we also have a recruitment drive taking place in the next few weeks,’ said Mr Ó h-Icí.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Christopher O’Sullivan also called for an increase in the opening hours of the pool to bring it in line with other swimming pools in the county.

The limited opening hours are really inhibiting people’s use of it, he said.

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