Templemore ‘angry’ over Garda swimming pool lockout

Facilities available to local community since 1965 withdrawn by letter from Garda HQ

Garda Síochána College, Templemore: Facilities at the college, which had been available to the local community in the past, will no longer be available, according to a letter received by local schools last week. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Local schools in Co Tipperary have been left in limbo following a decision by Garda management to stop access to the swimming pool and playing pitches at the Garda Síochána College in Templemore.

Templemore residents say they are “angry” and “disappointed” at the decision which means they are no longer permitted to use amenities.

The facilities which had been made available to the local community in the past, will no longer be available, according to a letter received by local schools last week. Local schools had used the facilities for swimming lessons and meets, as well as the playing pitches for football games.

One school impacted by the decision is St Colmcille's Primary School in Templemore. The school has 93 students.


"We have used the swimming pool in the Garda training college for many years," principal Kieran Healy told The Irish Times.

“Back in November we were told the facility was closing for repair works and then we didn’t hear any further correspondence until a couple of weeks ago. Although, before receiving the letter, we knew it had already been closed off to us, as it’s a small community.

“We got official correspondence last week that we would no longer be able to use the facilities. It’s very disappointing for us as a school because we weren’t using the school for recreational purposes. Our use of the pool was solely based on the PE curriculum. We were covering the aquatic strand using the Garda college facilities.”

Mr Healy said that each class in the school had been given eight weeks of tuition.

“I’m extremely disappointed at the decision by the gardaí. What we are really feeling at the school is that the children at the school are being punished by the sins of others.

“It’s the children that are suffering because of discrepancies and political wrangling. I don’t believe that the children should be punished.”

Supported community

Mr Healy said that there was no reason given by Garda management as to why the facility was no longer available to the community. However, he was keen to point out that the Garda training college had always supported the local community until the decision came from Garda Headquarters.

“I think the decision to lock us out has been very anti-community for a college which was very historically pro-community. The children completely missed out this year because of what we were told were refurbishments and now facing into a new school year after the summer, we have no alternatives lined up,” he said.

Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill, who represents the area, said the use of the facilities in the past helped foster good relations between the community and the gardaí training in the town.

“It wasn’t just the swimming pool the local schools used but also the playing pitches and it dates as far back as 1965 when the local community first started using the facilities,” Mr Cahill said.

“The community has been left angry and disappointed by the decision; a lot of local schools have been left in limbo as to what to do.”

There was no response from the Garda Press Office when asked for comment on the matter on Thursday.