Friends of the Rock Pool call for support to retain facility

SIR, — Any long time users of the Rock Pool (and we are legion) will be used to the recurring theme of threats to its ongoing existence. So it comes as no surprise that yet again, we are forced in to campaign mode to save this important community asset.

That the beloved Rock Pool requires investment is to be expected after years of underfunding in its infrastructure by Newry, Mourne and Down Council. We have been in touch with elected representatives and council officials over the last 12 months to understand the scope of the work that will be needed and how the community might be involved in its future.

As the reports on the structural integrity of the pool and required equipment upgrades have yet to be finalised, it is our understanding that the exact funding is yet to be determined. Reports in the local press quoting unsubstantiated figures are therefore unhelpful and alarmist.

The value of the Rock Pool cannot be quantified simply in pounds and pence and to do so is reductive. The pool is a community hub used by generations of locals and visitors. It provides huge benefits to the physical and mental health of those who use it.

There has been a huge uptake in cold water swimming and a recognition of its health benefits, something that comes as no surprise to Rock Pool users. It would be a massive own goal were the council to countenance closing one of the last remaining seawater pools in the country, something that could in fact be a boon to tourism as well as a place for the local community.

If the last 12 months have demonstrated anything, it is that greater emphasis should be placed on health, physical activity, mental wellbeing and community. We would urge local councillors to remember all of these factors when they consider the future of the Rock Pool.

Yours etc,