€3.2 million allocated to 173 outdoor recreation projects in rural areas

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys has today (Monday, January 18) announced almost €3.2 million in funding for 173 projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The scheme provides funding for the development, promotion and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as trails, walkways, cycleways and blueways.

The funding announced today, under Measure 1 of the scheme, will support small-scale local projects with funding of up to €20,000 each.

It was announced in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, who are co-funding the projects with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Further announcements in respect of medium and large scale projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, with funding of up to €200,000 and €500,000 respectively for each project, will be made at a later stage.

Examples of the projects awarded funding today include:
  • Co. Donegal – Bealach na Gaeltachta Trail enhancement: €20,000;
  • Co. Monaghan – investment in the Ulster Canal Greenway: €20,000;
  • Co Mayo – development of a bog walk in Clogher: €19,800;
  • Co. Offaly – Killaun Bog Boardwalk upgrade: €20,000;
  • Co. Westmeath – Old Rail Trail Greenway enhancement: €20,000.

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“The last year has demonstrated more than ever the importance of outdoor amenities for our physical and mental wellbeing.

“There has been a notable increase in the number of people using our walking trails, cycleways, parks and other resources to exercise and keep fit, while respecting the guidelines on social distancing during the Covid-19 crisis.

“I am delighted to support the continued development and enhancement of outdoor recreation infrastructure through the allocation of almost €3.2 million for 173 projects across the country, with a particular focus on rural areas.

These facilities will represent a tremendous long-term asset for rural communities and visitors alike into the future.

Orla Carroll, director of product development at Fáilte Ireland, said:

“Outdoor recreation will play a vital role in helping tourism businesses throughout Ireland recover from the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Last year, Irish people embraced the outdoors, utilising walking and cycling trails and blueways to explore the natural beauty Ireland has to offer.

“Along with the health benefits associated with outdoor recreation, domestic tourism also generated economic activity in rural locations around the country.

These trails are environmentally sustainable and are a great opportunity for people to explore and learn more about biodiversity and the natural environment of our island.

“Fáilte Ireland will be investing €4 million in the scheme over each of the next three years, which supports the work of local communities that provide well-maintained, easily accessible recreational trails across the country.”