€1.8 million funding allocated to rural recreation infrastructure

Over €1.8 million in funding has been allocated to 109 projects of the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, made the announcement last Friday, November 29.

The scheme is part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration and Development programme and provides funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as trails, walkways, cycleways and blueways.

The funding awarded on Friday aims to support small-scale local projects with funding of up to €20,000 for investment in outdoor recreation facilities and the promotion of existing recreation infrastructure.

In making the announcement on Friday, Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to announce funding of €1.8 million for 109 projects spread across rural Ireland.

This funding will make a huge difference to the ongoing maintenance and development of the outdoor recreation facilities that are being supported.

“Projects approved under this measure include the upgrade of surfaces on walking trails, improvements to route signage, improved facilities at trail access points, the development of promotional materials, and the provision of beach access.”

“There is no doubting the importance of these projects for the wellbeing and quality of life of local residents.

As a nation, we have embraced the great outdoors in growing numbers and I am pleased that my department is playing a central role in facilitating the development of this important sector.

Continuing, the minister said: “Our investment in outdoor recreation facilities and infrastructure also pays a significant economic dividend.

“Thousands of tourists make walking, hiking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits an important part of their stay in Ireland.

Last year alone, almost 2.7 million overseas visitors engaged in some form of cross country walking or hiking, while over 0.5 million visitors incorporated cycling into their stay.

“In addition, one in four of us included walking or hiking as part of our domestic holidays last year.

“Since 2016, I have provided over €43 million in funding to support the outdoor recreation sector.

Concluding, Minister Ring noted: “I will shortly be making further announcements in relation to mid-sized and larger projects which have applied for funding under separate strands of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.”