Mr Michael Ring, TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, today announced that he has approved €60,080 to invest in the enhancement of five outdoor projects in Offaly under Measure 1 of his Department’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (2019).
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 today will support small-scale local projects with funding for investment in outdoor recreation facilities and the promotion of existing recreation infrastructure.
Prior to today’s allocation, Minister Ring has allocated more than €1.3 million in the last two years to walking and cycling trails in Offaly through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Further funding in relation to mid-sized and larger projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme will be announced in the new year.
The following projects in Offaly have received funding:
Making the announcement today, Minister Ring said:
“I am delighted to announce funding today of €60,080 for these excellent local initiatives in Offaly. 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 and the development of promotional materials.
There is no doubting the importance of these projects for the wellbeing and quality of life of local residents. Projects supported under this Scheme in Offaly such as the Grand Canal Greenway provide an amazing outlet to local people and help to attract visitors.
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.”
The Minister continued:
“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 nationally. 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.”