The Mayor of Carrickmacross, Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, has again called on the government and the Department for Arts, Tourism and Sports to reopen the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme to allow towns like Carrickmacross to apply for a grant to build a public leisure facility.
Cllr. Carthy said this week that a swimming pool for Carrickmacross has long been his priority demand for the South Monaghan town acknowledging that ‘some people think it’s just a pipe dream that I go on about from time to time’.
When he was first elected Mayor of Carrickmacross from 2006-2007 Cllr. Carthy organised a meeting to form the Carrickmacross Swimming Pool committee, a group which secured all-party, united political support. Local Councillors also agreed at that time to ring-fence land on the Convent Lands for such a development. The local swimming pool committee undertook a fundraising initiative to carry out a feasibility study as soon as a new grant programme was initiated.
Unfortunately the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme was closed to new applicants in July 2000; at that time it was promised that it would re-open once an audit of the programme was carried out. It hasn’t been re-opened since. Since 2000, 58 projects have or are being dealt with under the Programme, of which 49 have been completed and the other 9 projects are at various stages of the Programme.
At the request of Cllr. Carthy, local Sinn Féin Dáil Deputy, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin recently raised the issue of the programme with the Minister of State, Michael Ring. In response Deputy Ring stated: “No decision has been taken on any new round of the Programme. If the Programme re-opens it would be open to each Local Authority, including Monaghan County Council on behalf of Carrickmacross, to submit an application under the terms that would apply at that time”.
Cllr. Carthy has called on the government to re-open the programme without any further delay allowing a feasibility study to be carried out in respect of an application for Carrickmacross. The Sinn Féin representative cited the important stimulus that such a programme would have for local economies in the construction phase of leisure centres as well as the massive boast it would provide to towns like Carrickmacross once leisure centres are built.
“Carrickmacross is big enough in my opinion to have a Swimming Pool and other such amenities and I believe a feasibility study will endorse that view” Cllr. Carthy said.
It may still be a pipe dream to many but it is clear that this is one issue that Matt Carthy doesn’t intend to let go.