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Minister Humphreys and Fáilte Ireland announce €3.2 million in funding for outdoor recreational amenities

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173 projects across the country to benefit under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

Funding to develop country’s trails, walkways, cycleways and blueways

Minister Humphreys secures 20% increase in funding for outdoor projects compared to 2020

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D., today (Monday, January 18th) 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 is being 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 – Bealacht na Gaeltachta Trail enhancement: €20,000
  • Co. Monaghan – Investment in the Ulster Canal Greenway: €20,000
  • Co. Kerry – Development of a public amenity space at the Tralee Bay Coastal Walkway/Cycleway: €20,000
  • Co. Tipperary – Improvement works at the trail of the Rock of Cashel site: €19,800
  • Co. Roscommon – Enhancement of the cycleway from Boyle to Lough Key: €20,000
  • Co. Sligo – Coolaney Riverwalk upgrade: €16,650
  • Co. Cork – Redevelopment of walks along with improving disability access and the development of a sensory path at Island Wood, Newmarket: €20,000
  • Co Mayo – Development of a bog walk in Clogher: €19,800
  • Co. Wicklow – Trail enhancement and development of the Avondale Link: €18,297
  • Co. Offaly – Killaun Bog Boardwalk upgrade: €20,000
  • Co. Westmeath – Old Rail Trail Greenway enhancement: €20,000
  • Co. Waterford – Mount Melleray Monastery Walks upgrade: €18,824

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.

“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has provided investment for the development of new amenities and the enhancement of existing facilities since 2016 and that investment is now proving its worth as more and more people discover and appreciate the facilities available on their doorstep.

“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.

“I want to acknowledge the support of our partners, Fáilte Ireland, who are once again co-funding the successful projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.”

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.

“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) plays a key role in helping to develop and maintain key assets throughout Ireland that are utilised by locals and visitors alike. These trails are environmentally sustainable and are a great opportunity for people to explore and learn more about bio-diversity and the natural environment of our island.
“Fáilte Ireland will be investing €4 million in the ORIS scheme over each of the next 3 years, which supports the work of local communities that provide well-maintained, easily accessible recreational trails across the country.”

Minister Humphreys added:

“The importance of our outdoor recreation facilities cannot be underestimated. They play an important role in supporting our physical and mental health and have never been in more demand. This is why I secured an extra €2 million in funding for the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme this year – an increase of 20% from 2020. The total Exchequer allocation for the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme in 2021 is €12 million.”