THE return of swimming lessons and extended opening hours could finally be on the cards for Dunmanway Municipal Pool, following the confirmation that new staff were inducted at the €5.5m facility.
Due to the lack of staff, combined with Covid restrictions, the pool has operated on reduced hours for the past two years, meaning some parents were forced to travel to pools in Kealkil, Cork city and other locations to avail of swimming lessons for their children.
A recruitment campaign began in January to hire part-time pool assistants but it became a protracted process, meaning West Cork’s only public swimming pool was forced to reduce opening hours. This also affected the return of swimming lessons which was of concern to, not only the West Cork Orcas Swim Club, who were based there, but also families in West Cork who had called for the lessons to be re-instated.
Cork South West FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said that while the pandemic led to restricted hours, staff shortages meant the pool, which opened in 2018, was unable to return to normal working hours, unlike other Cork County Council facilities.
He said the staff at the pool had been ‘absolutely fantastic’ through this, always trying to accommodate people and serve their community.
‘The staff shortage impacted a large cohort of pool users – from adult swim training to local underage swimming lessons, which is enormously important for West Cork’s most talented potential swimming champions,’ he added.
‘Now that Cork County Council has recruited staff, I’m hopeful hours will return to normal soon.’
Local councillors Declan Hurley (Ind) and Deirdre Kelly (FF), who were both very vocal about the situation with the pool, which opened four years ago, have welcomed the news that additional staff have been finally recruited.
‘Following the completion of their induction, pool hours will be extended and extra swimming classes will resume. I will continue my efforts to achieve more for this fine community facility,’ said Cllr Hurley.
Cllr Kelly said this was positive news for Dunmanway Municipal Pool and wished the new staff members well in their new roles.
Meanwhile, the gym at the pool remains closed until further notice as it is on standby as an possible emergency rest centre for Ukrainian refugees, should the need arise.