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Instruction priority in swimming pool, ― Minister

Leinster Leader 25 September 1971

THE MINISTER FOR Local Government, Mr. Robert Molloy, took a plunge on Sunday after he officially opened the £48,000 swimming pool at Naas.
More than 200 people gathered outside the building to hear the young Minister express his Department's views on swimming pools and housing.
He congratulated the members of the local committee, the people of the area, and contractors, Riversdale Products, Ltd. Co. Westmeath. The Naas pool was the 11th of 32 sanctioned by the Department. There were still 21 pools either under construction or at the final planning stage. There were tremendous demands on the Department, said Mr. Molloy, and the greatest priority was to build houses. This would always remain a priority, he added.
With housing come water and sewage, both of which were a great strain on capital. With such demands there will be restrictions in his department regarding the sanction of pools, said the Minister. "I am demands," he continued.
He went on: "The provision of the pool should lead to a more closely knit community and a more diversified leisure time for the youth of Naas. It should also increase the great go-ahead spirit which also exists in the area."
The main priority in the provision of swimming pools should be the teaching of swimming and life-saving. This was the overwhelming reason for the swimming pool programme at all. About 100 people were drowned every year either through inability to swim or over-confidence.
Again Mr. Molloy praised the local people for securing such an advanced pool. He was aware that before its opening they had to make do with the old canal harbour. It was obvious what the people thought of the facility when it was considered that they contributed £8,000 of the total cost. They were first asked for £5,000 said the Minister, and later for an additional £3,000.
He hoped that the school authorities would avail themselves of the facility offered which had a great health-giving and recreational value and might in some cases prove the difference between life and death.
The Chairman of Kildare County Council Mr. Michael Cunningham, told the people how the money was secured. The County Council borrowed money for the purpose and obtained a subsidy of 50 per cent of this loan from the Department of Local Government. The pool is the first provided by the local authority in the County. Local contributions obtained through the efforts of the Naas Swimming Pool Committee reached £8,000.
Naas U.D.C. has agreed to contribute one third of the running cost.
An average of 2,400 persons use the pool every week. There are six lessons a day with a maximum of 80 people per session.
Continuing, Mr. Cunningham said that a start had been made in swimming instruction through County Kildare Water Safety Committee. It was planned to develop this activity as much as possible in coming months.
Applications had been received from schools and clubs to reserve the pool for special sessions and it is intended to accommodate these at suitable times when the demand in public swimming levels off and forms a definite pattern. He added that the Council had recently approved of the provision of a toddler's pool.
Concluding, he paid tribute to the contractors, the County Manager and staff, particularly Mr. Tom McDonald.
"It is my day. The dream has really come true," said Mr. William Callaghan, U.D.C., Co.C., Chairman of the Pool Committee. He said the Committee could finally see the fruit of its hard work.
He hoped the committee would not break up. There was enough land on the site for a whole recreation park. "I hope it will come to fruition," concluded Mr. Callaghan.
The blessing ceremony was performed by V. Rev. P. Harris, P.P. The attendance included Deputies Paddy Malone and Terry Boylan, County Manager, Mr. E. Murray; County Engineer, Mr. C. D. O'Donoghue; County Accountant, Mr. G. Bannon, County Secretary, Mr. J. J. Mullaney, County Architect, Mr. N. Meagher; Rev. Laurence Newman, C.C., Killeigh, Offaly formally C.C., Naas; T. P. Corcoran, Town Clerk, Droichead Nua, members of Kildare County Council and Staff, and Naas U.D.C.

An article from the Leinster Leader 25 September 1971 on the opening of Naas swimming pool

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