The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD, has announced that he has approved over €1.8 million in funding for 109 projects across the country under Measure 1 of the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
That figure includes a total of €79.179.11 to go towards five Longford projects.
Newcastle Forest in Ballymahon is set to get a slice of that pie worth €19,393.38 for a surface upgrade of the 4km walkway around Center Parcs to ensure the walkway is accessible to all. This walkway is now accessible via the White Bridge, which was recently opened in Newcastle Woods.
The Royal Canal Greenway is set to benefit from funding to the tune of €19,945.60 to upgrade the existing trail along the canal between Killashee and Clondra.
In Longford town, Albert Reynolds Peace Park (formerly the Mall) is to undergo upgrades and surface repair of the 2.2km walkway. A total of €19,820.29 has been allocated to this project.
Meanwhile, €20,000 has been granted for Mosstown, Kenagh, for the repair of the mill races around Mosstown Mill and Lime Tree Avenue, including repair to stonework and clearance of overgrowth.
Ballinalee Forest Walk will benefit from €19,838 which will go towards the development of a 1.1km looped walk in Ballinalee, through Coillte forestry, providing a link between residential areas and local recreational amenity facilities.
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 of up to €20,000 for investment in outdoor recreation facilities and the promotion of existing recreation infrastructure.
Making the announcement today, Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to announce funding today 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.”
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. 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.”