Written Answers. - Swimming Pools Report.

Noel Treacy

Question:

89 Mr. N. Treacy asked the Minister for the Environment the action, if any, he proposes to take in relation to the recent report on swimming pools by the Consumers Association of Ireland; if he will spend the necessary £15 million in order to upgrade existing swimming pools; the amount of money allocated for maintenance of swimming pools in 1997; the amount of capital money allocated for swimming pool development in 1997; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9314/97]

The day-to-day operation of their swimming pools is a matter for individual local authorities. The authorities can also make by-laws for the regulation of swimming pools, whether in their own or private ownership, in relation to matters such as the provision of life-guards and safety equipment, hygiene, etc.

My Department has requested and received from the Consumers' Association of Ireland a copy of the report referred to. The report states, in summary, that overall, the standard of safety at the pools inspected was quite good. Nevertheless, I will carefully study the report and consider what action I might take in the matter.

Total expenditure by local authorities on swimming pools, from their own resources, is estimated to have been almost £8 million in 1996. My Department has a capital allocation of £3.5 million for 1997 out of which grants may be made for the provision of new pools and the refurbishment of existing pools. This represents a significant increase on the 1996 provision of £2 million. It has never been the practice to make grants towards the maintenance of swimming pools.