For Oral Answer on : 29/09/2022
Question Number(s): 18 Question Reference(s): 47584/22
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media her Department’s plans to offer additional supports to swimming pools given the increased energy costs; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The very real cost of living challenges that are impacting on households and businesses are also of major concern to sports organisations and sports facilities, including those located within hotels and other private venues. Increased energy costs are a particular concern as we enter winter and there is increased demand for indoor facilities, heat, light etc. This is particularly true in the case of the swimming sector. Erratic price fluctuations by power suppliers also exacerbate an already difficult situation in terms of budget forecasting, setting rates etc.
Whilst my Department does not provide funding for the day to day operation of swimming pools or leisure centres, as this is a matter for the operators of the facilities themselves, significant assistance has been provided to sports bodies and to the tourism and hospitality sectors over the past two years to cope with the impacts of Covid. As part of Budget 2023, I am continuing to engage with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in terms of supports to alleviate the impact of increased energy costs for swimming pools, as part of an overall package of measures to support sports clubs with energy intensive activities. The framework for this assistance programme, which will also encompass arts / culture and voluntary sectors, will be put in place in the coming weeks and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has announced that a fund of €60 million will be made available for this programme.
I recognise the very positive impact that swimming has on the nation’s physical health and mental wellbeing and continue to support my Department’s direct role in relation to providing capital support for the development of swimming facilities.