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SWIMMING lessons in Clare need to resume to increase the amount of lifeguards on patrol at beaches in the county, elected representatives have argued.

An appeal to resume swimming classes for the public “as a matter of urgency” was issued by Cllr Paul Murphy (FG) at the November meeting of Clare County Council. He felt this would allow existing classes to conclude and the promotion of swimming “as an important form of exercise for all age groups”.

Resuming swimming lessons would “provide much needed revenue for Clare County Council, but far more importantly it will continue to provide a steady stream of trained swimmers, many of whom qualify as lifeguards that subsequently go on to patrol our Blue flag beaches and lakes making them safer places for the wider public,” Murphy stated.

Director of Service with the Social Development Directorate of Clare County Council, Anne Haugh outlined that Active Ennis Leisure Centre was “returning to ‘normal’ operations as COVID restrictions ease”.

Lessons will resume at the facility “as soon as the contractor can be re-engaged,” she added. These negotiations are “at an advanced stage” with the previous contractor likely to be utilised to deliver the swimming lessons, “it should be in train over the coming weeks”. Earlier training times for the swimming club has resumed, Haugh confirmed.

Cllr Murphy admitted his children were the motivation for the motion. “I’ve two young lads that are reasonable swimmers but they need to be trained further. What’s key is that we keep producing trained swimmers. I’m able to swim but I’m not good enough to coach children to do it, these children could go on to become trained lifeguards”.

Guidelines issued on the resumption of lessons need to be circulated to elected members, Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) remarked as he seconded the proposal. “Swimming lessons and other sports are key for our health, we should explore what can be achieved during restrictions to carry out swimming lessons,” Cllr Liam Grant (GP) commented. Further support was voiced by Cllr Ann Norton (IND).

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