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An Independent councillor has called for the establishment of an ice-skating/ice hockey rink in Fingal.

llr Joe Newman called on the Chief Executive to consider the recently launched Irish Winter  Sports Strategy 2022-2026 and report her  findings “as to how the council can avail of the opportunity to encourage and support the development of winter sports in the Fingal area. ”

According to Cllr Newman, who was speaking at a recent meeting of the full council, the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport,   Jack Chambers recently launched a Winter Sports Strategy for 2022-2026, together with the National Winter Sports Association and the Olympic Federation of Ireland.

This, Cllr Newman said, was  a significant strategy which aimed  to “overhaul and energise  the winter sports environment, ” in support of winter sports and athletes in Ireland.

Cllr Newman said he believed that Fingal needs to provide for alternative sports that cater for people “young and old” plus “of all abilities”, and that an ice-skating rink in Fingal would provide for that.

He said he had been working over the past number of years in conjunction with the council’s Economics Department to try and support a group which is involved in ice hockey and skating.

What this organisation was  looking for, he said, was  a piece of land where they could  facilitate ice hockey and skating. What Cllr Newman was looking for was a facility within Fingal which would facilitate these people.

Supporting Cllr Newman’s motion, Cllr Ann Graves (SF) said what was needed was to look at a range of sport offerings, particularly given that Fingal has such a diverse population.

She noted “years ago” there were ice-skating rinks in Dublin City, and asked “why not now? ”

Also speaking at the council meeting, Cllr Brigid Manton (FF) said there was a  need to look at year-round sports in Fingal, “apart from putting in all-weather pitches into large estates. ”

Ice-skating worked “very well” for children and families in the winter time, she said, adding she supported Cllr Newman’s movement.

Cllr Jimmy Guerin (NP), however , told councillors they were “all hallucinating and dreaming” if they thought an ice-skating rink was going to be built in Fingal.

Cllr Guerin pointed out that Fingal does not have a municipal swimming pool, which should be the priority before any other facility is considered.

“We don’t even have a swimming pool! ”, he said, “so can we start with the basics? ”

Cllr Guerin said he would “normally” assistance Cllr Newman’s motions, but in this case he could not do so until such period as there was a city and county swimming pool in Fingal.

A report issued by the council stated that Fingal County Council Sports Office via the “Equipment Funding”  grant scheme aims to support community and voluntary sports groups and clubs to develop initiatives that support the development of sport and best practice, up to a maximum of €3, 000.

The Sports Office is also available to meet with any registered club or organisation officials to see how the council  might assist them with winter sports planning, the report concluded.

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