The Irish government has announced a phased relaxation of its Covid-19 restrictions, with swimming pools set to reopen from 7 June.
The decision means that pools in the Republic of Ireland will have been closed for 298 of the last 365 days. The government first mandated that they close on 27 March 2020.
Swim Ireland, the national governing body for aquatics in Ireland, say they "welcome" the announcement, but share in the "frustration and disappointment" that pools will not be allowed to reopen in May.
Following discussions this morning with key stakeholders, Swim Ireland say the decision to reopen pools in June rather than May is "down to the government focussing first on re-opening outdoor amenities throughout May".
They also say there was "a concern around re-opening too many sectors and services at once, while the vaccination campaign is still being ramped up".
In a statement published on Swim Ireland's website, they say: "The ups and downs of life in a pandemic continue, but what will never change is our love for the water, and as clubs start to return to outdoor activities in the build-up to those pools reopening, we continue to be on hand to support you in your endeavours – and we celebrate that when pools do reopen, it is the intention they are open for good."
In Northern Ireland, leisure centres and swimming pools are permitted to reopen from 30 April.
A timeline of pool closures and reopening dates in the Republic of Ireland
- Government mandate for pools to close from 27 March 2020
- Pools permitted to reopen from 1 July 2020
- Forced to close again on 21 October 2020
- Permitted to reopen from 1 December 2020
- Closed once again on 31 December 2020
- Permitted to reopen from June 7 2021