Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly has congratulated community campaigners in West Wicklow as the County Council confirms it’s to commission a feasibility study into a public swimming pool in the area.
Stephen Donnelly said, “The campaign group ‘Community Pool for West Wicklow’ has worked tirelessly to ensure that the possibility of building a public swimming pool never fell off the agenda. Their success in moving the project forward is a testament to their dedication and drive. They utilised every tool at their disposal from crowd funding and social media to good old fashioned letter writing.
“I understand their determination. West Wicklow, particularly Blessington, has a growing young population. Parents know just how important it is to encourage their children to partake in physical activity and engage in a healthy lifestyle that limits their screen time. But we must practice what we preach and ensure that we have the necessary amenities available so our kids have somewhere to go when they get off the couch.
“At the moment people in West Wicklow are forced to travel as far as Naas and Tallaght if they want to take swimming lessons. That’s simply not good enough. It instantly discriminates against anyone who doesn’t have the luxury of their own car. When pupils from sixth class in Blessington No. 1 school came to visit me in Leinster House recently I asked for their biggest concerns. Every single student told me they wished there was a nearby swimming pool. On the back of that meeting I wrote to the Minister for Sport Shane Ross asking for funding and so I’m really delighted to hear that a feasibility study is being commissioned. It’s fantastic to know those children are a step closer to making their dreams a reality”, concluded Donnelly.
Development Levy money from West Wicklow should be ring-fenced for a swimming pool for the area
Speaking on the news Teachta Brady said “The decision by Wicklow County Council to carry out a feasibility study for a swimming pool for West Wicklow is an important first step. West Wicklow is the only area in the County without a publically owned swimming pool and that needs to change. The people of West Wicklow deserve no less than any other residents in the County.”
Teachta Brady continued “It is totally unacceptable that local residents and indeed schools must travel to Tallaght or Naas to swim. Not only is this a major inconvenience, it is also a huge cost for schools as buses must be organised to transport the children.”
The Sinn Féin representative for West Wicklow Aidan Kinsella said “Myself and my colleague John Brady have meet with members of the ‘Pool for the west’ campaign group and pledged to help progress this issue in every way we can. The feasibility study when completed will in my mind find that not only is it feasible to have a pool in the west, but that the people are demanding a huge improvement in all recreational facilities in the area.”
Teachta Brady concluded “The feasibility study is an important first step. I believe that it should look at a sports facility which would include a swimming pool along with a whole range of other facilities such as all-weather pitches along with a sports hall like that at Shoreline in Greystones. The issue of funding also needs to be looked at, as there will be considerable development in the Blessington area in the near future the Development Levies in from the West Wicklow area need to be ring-fenced for the development of the sports facility, this should be complemented by State funding so a state of the art facility could be built.”