Minister honours city swimming pioneers during visit to Leisureland

Relaxing poolside are Minister Ring and city councillors and officials.

Relaxing poolside are Minister Ring and city councillors and officials.

Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport visited Leisureland last week on the invitation of Leisureland’s board of directors. His visit to the Salthill facility was dual-purpose. Firstly, the minister wanted to see first hand the new improvements to Leisureland’s pool plant facilities, which were upgraded recently, aided by the provision of a substantial grant from the ministers department.

Extensive works were carried out to replace dated, inefficient oil boilers with new, gas powered, energy efficient equipment. Deputy Major Cllr Frank Fahy and Leisureland’s Board of Directors as well as City Council staff involved in the project were present to view the completed works, which will significantly reduce the facility’s energy costs.

The Minister then unveiled artefacts relating to the late Jimmy Cranny and Mrs Ronnie Ball, both of whom were instrumental in the development of swimming in Galway. The artefacts, now on display in Leisureland, were kindly donated by the Ball family.

Jimmy Cranny (1905-1984 ) was president of the IASA, an accomplished swimmer, diver and lifesaver who taught countless children the valuable life skill of swimming. Jimmy’s greatest wish was for Galway to have a swimming pool and set up a fundraising committee in 1960. With funds on board he approached Galway City Council and as a result Leisureland pool was constructed.

Mrs Ronnie Ball (1931-2011 ) was a swim coach, swimming teacher and long time president of Galway Swim Club, president of the IASA Connaught Branch and eventually president of Swim Ireland. In recognition of her outstanding life’s work and dedication to the development of swimming, Swim Ireland inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2011.

Chairperson of Leisureland’s board, Cllr Donal Lyons thanked the Minister for his department’s support and for the provision of funding to facilitate essential works in Leisureland. Cllr Lyons acknowledged the outstanding contribution to swimming in Galway and beyond by both Ronnie Ball and Jimmy Cranny. He also welcomed the continued contribution being made by swim clubs and volunteers to further develop the sport in Galway.


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