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For Oral Answer on : 05/05/2022
Question Number(s): 14,15 Question Reference(s): 22089/22, 22138/22
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D., Neale Richmond T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the way her Department supports public swimming pools in order to assist them in remaining financially viable; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 5 May, 2022.

* To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media the steps she is taking to develop and support local swimming pools; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Neale Richmond T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 5 May, 2022.


In response to the fallout caused by Covid-19 my Department provided funding of €2.5 million in 2020 to support publicly accessible swimming pools in responding to the challenge associated with maintaining swimming pools and the effort to re-open within Covid-19 safety protocols. A further amount of €3.2 million was provided in 2021 for this purpose also which is a further acknowledgement of the importance of the sector and the impact swimming has on the nation’s health. The funding was administered by Ireland Active on behalf of Sport Ireland and supported 280 pools throughout the country. In the normal course, the question of the day to day financial management of these public utilities is a matter for the operators of the facilities themselves.

Capital funding for new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools was previously provided through the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme (LASPP). A total of 52 pools have been completed under the LASPP and three swimming pool projects (Lucan, Buncrana and Edenderry) remain in the programme with the Lucan project currently under construction.

My Department’s capital support for any new swimming pools is now being provided through the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF). The National Development Plan provided a capital allocation of at least €100m for the Fund over the period to 2027. 

The first call for proposals under the LSSIF closed in 2019 with applications confined to local authorities and National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of Sport. All applications were assessed in accordance with the published Evaluation Procedures and Guidelines and the first allocations were announced in January 2020. Thus far, approximately €86.4 million has been awarded to 33 different proposals. These initial allocations include funding for 8 swimming pool projects.

The priority in the short term is to advance all LSSIF projects, including the swimming pools, to  construction stage.

In relation to future capital funding for pools, my Department is currently undertaking a review of progress on all existing LSSIF grants. As part of this review, my Department is also considering the timing of any new call for proposals. The review is at an advanced stage and is expected to be finalised shortly.

In terms of future policy, the National Sports Policy commits to the development of a National Swimming Strategy. As part of this, there will be a review of swimming pool provision to identify where gaps exist and how these can be met. Furthermore, the Sports Action Plan 2021-2023, which was published in November 2021, contains an action to develop and implement a National Swimming Strategy to provide additional swimming opportunities indoors and outdoors. Initial preparatory planning work has been undertaken by my Department in this regard. It is intended to establish a working group in the near future to take forward the detailed work of preparing a national swimming strategy, with a view to its completion and publication later this year.

The outcome of these reviews and strategies will be fully considered when deciding on the future funding provision for swimming pools.