We have set up a petition to publicise the planned closure of the pool at Askeaton Pool & Leisure. https://www.change.org/keepaskeatonpoolopen
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Stop the Closure
It has been announced that Askeaton Pool and Leisure Centre will close its swimming pool for a year for upgrade works. The need for upgrade works are not disputed, however, the contract for works have yet to go out to tender, so the actual works will not commence for quite some time.
It is believed that the closure of the pool before the tender for the work has even been released is due to the unwillingness of Limerick Council to pay for the running costs of the pool. Askeaton Swimming Pool was built as part of the Local Authorities Swimming Pool Programme, and a condition of this programme is the local authorities are responsible for both capital and ongoing running costs.
It is unacceptable on all levels to condone such a duration of closure when the facility is a vital aspect of the wider community’s physical and mental health. Plus, the centre is a local employer, these jobs will be gone when the centre closes.
At least 2000 children go through the doors of this centre weekly for swimming lessons. This figure includes the students of the 30+ primary schools who use the centre for their swimming lessons which form part of the primary school curriculum, as well as the centre’s own lessons that run throughout the year.
The pool is home to Askeaton Swimming Club, a long established and very successful swimming club, with swimmers currently competing at national and international competitions.
The closure of the pool in March 2023, will mean all these swimmers will have no pool to train or learn in, as this is the only such facility in west county Limerick.
Other patrons of the pool include the masters (adult) swimming club, Deel Swimmers, who use this pool as their home training pool, with anywhere between 30 and 50 swimmers training the pool twice weekly.
The swimming pool is used by the wider community daily, with all ages benefitting from the facility. The centre also provides the facility for aqua aerobics, hydro therapy, and personal swimming to occur at the pool every single day. The closure of the pool will mean the public can no longer avail of the benefits of swimming and water-based activities for fitness, rehabilitation and recovery, and social interactions.
Swimming is the second most popular sport in the country. Askeaton Swimming Pool is a vital public resource for the whole of west Limerick’s community. Now more than ever, people are working to maintain their physical and mental health, so to remove such a vital facility for a year goes against all local, national, and international recommendations and policies.
“Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, Una May, said: “The Irish Sports Monitor highlighted swimming to be the second most popular sport amongst adults with 300,000 participating each week. Swimming pools provide a vital resource for schools, clubs and communities across the country. Swimming greatly contributes to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities right across the country.”
On average, 110 people drown in Ireland every year. Every year, water safety courses run at Askeaton Pool during the summer months, which are a critical part of the national efforts to improve water safety and public awareness. Without Askeaton Pool this summer, these classes will not run in the area, and after a number of lockdowns and unavoidable pool closures in the pandemic, there is already a backlog of children who have missed out on these lessons. This has a knock on impact on the number of lifeguards qualifying for the coming years.
The community will suffer due to this closure, we need Limerick Council to reverse this decision, provide funds to ensure the pool and centre remains operating and keep all closures for works to an absolute minimum; in consultation with the regular users of the pool and centre.
History of Askeaton Swimming Pool
Opened in 2007, the EUR5.66M public facility, the only one of its kind between Limerick City and North Kerry, consists of an indoor 25m swimming pool, small children’s pool, sauna and steam room, changing village and gym facility.
Organised swimming in Askeaton goes back to the 1950s when the Askeaton Swimming Club was established. Through the efforts of the swimming club and local community, in conjunction with Limerick County Council, an outdoor heated swimming pool was provided in 1971. Prior to this, galas and swimming events were held in the Deel river, which passes through the town. The Askeaton Pool and Leisure Centre is constructed on the site of the original outdoor pool.
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