Donegal leisure centre apologises to families after pool ‘backwash’

Parents took issue with Letterkenny facility’s claim that all children were out of hospital

A leisure centre chain has apologised to the parents of a group of children who fell ill after visiting the Co Donegal facility after wrongly claiming they had made a full recovery and been released from hospital.

Two children remained under observation at Letterkenny University Hospital on Sunday after “backwash” water was allowed into a swimming pool at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny a day earlier.

The company said an issue arose where backwash – pool water contained in the filtration system – leaked back into the pool and caused some cloudiness in the water and gave rise to foul odours.

It said that in line with safety procedures, as a precautionary measure, the pool was evacuated and the emergency services were notified to ensure everyone in the pool was checked for any reactionary medical issues.


Six children, who were among some 80 people in the pool at the time of the incident, were admitted to hospital after falling ill when the water became contaminated. Most of those present were treated at the scene.

One woman who was in the pool with her children at the time said they were terrified.

“Kids were sick, coughing and vomiting. The kids were all shaking and scared,” she said.

‘Inaccurate’ statement

Management at the Aura had claimed that all children had been released from hospital after “further assessment”. However, the family of one of two children who remained in hospital criticised the statement as inaccurate.

The Aura apologised to the families for any distress caused and said it would be keeping in close contact with the families.

“We deeply regret the misleading statement yesterday that said all the children had been discharged, and any upset caused to the parents and children involved,” it said. “The safety and wellbeing of the children in question is of our utmost concern.”

Local county councillor Gerry McMonagle, who was at the scene, said staff and emergency services should be commended for their rapid response.

However, he added that a full investigation needed to be carried out to prevent a similar accident happening again.