One of Galway’s longest established recreational facilities looks set to shut down its swimming pool and gym operations due to financial difficulties.
Leisureland which has been in operation since 1973, has struggled in recent weeks to generate enough income from operations to cover the running costs of the facility, having already used up its €300,000 subsidy for 2020 from the Galway City Council.
At two meetings held last Friday and Tuesday, a funding proposal was agreed by the board members which would enable the company to remain operating the facility on a significantly reduced basis by closing the swimming pool area which includes a 25m pool, a learner pool, and leisure pool and the gymnasium.
In a statement released by the board of Galway Salthill Failte CLG yesterday afternoon, a spokesperson said as a result of the closures, staffing requirements would be reduced.
The statement read; “Due to the operating restrictions of Covid-19, Galway Salthill Failte CLG, the company that operates Leisureland facility, has struggled in recent weeks to generate enough income from operations to cover the running costs of the facility. In 2020, Galway City Council provided a subsidy of €300,000 to Galway Salthill Failte CLG to operate Leisureland this year.
'A restricted service will be maintained until guidelines for operating leisure facilities become less restrictive and enable a facility such as Leisureland to operate in a viable manner'
“Due to the closure of the facility as part of the national Covid-19 restrictions from March to July and subsequent restrictive Covid-19 operating rules for leisure facilities, this subsidy has been completely used up at this point. Galway city council has indicated due to its own financial strains, it is not in a position to increase this funding in 2020.
“The board of Galway Salthill Failte CLG, met on Friday September 11 and again on Tuesday 15 to review the situation. The members of the board were fully advised of the funding requirements to sustain current operations at Leisureland. Galway Salthill Failte CLG does not currently have the financial reserves to underwrite the current level of operation.
A funding proposal has been agreed by the board members that would enable the company to remain operating the facility on a significantly reduced service level that involves no pool or gym operations.
“This would enable Salthill Failte operate the facility on a much reduced basis to the end of the year and into 2021 if additional financial support was forthcoming from Galway city council. This would involve not operating the swimming pool or gym but remaining to operate the facility as a meeting and events venue in line with the Covid-19 restrictions. As a result of this the staffing requirement to operate Leisureland would be reduced.
'Chief executive of the council, Brendan McGrath, told councillors that the state-of-the-art facility was losing up to €20,000 per week and was in a dire financial position'
“This restricted service would be maintained until such time as guidelines for operating leisure facilities become less restrictive and enable a facility such as Leisureland to operate in a viable manner. The company is currently awaiting a decision on this funding request.”
The chairperson of the board of Galway Salthill Failte CLG, Independent councillor Donal Lyons, said the board deeply regretted the situation faced by the company and staff and that it was committed to finding a solution with the local authority to try to restore Leisureland to full operations as soon as possible.
The news comes after chief executive of the Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, told councillors during a debate on increasing the local property tax rate at the local authority’s ordinary meeting at Leisureland on Monday afternoon that the state-of-the-art facility was losing up to €20,000 per week and was in a dire financial position.