Minister Ring approves over €11 million for more than 200 Rural Recreation Projects
Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (31 July) announced that he has approved over €11 million in funding for projects under Measures 1 and 3 of the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure and the maintenance, enhancement and promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland.
The grants being awarded will support a mix of smaller local measures with grants of up to €10,000 each (Measure 1), and larger projects will have a significant national or regional impact (Measure 3). Grants of between €100,000 and €1 million are available under the latter measure.
Making the announcement today, Minister Ring said:
“Recreational tourism is a growing sector in Ireland’s tourism offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and overseas visitors enjoying the many greenways, blueways and walking trails which have been developed around the country in recent years.
I am delighted to announce funding of €11.4 million to 219 projects that encapsulate the diversity of work that is ongoing across the country to provide high quality recreational infrastructure for visitors and locals alike. The projects which I am approving today range from innovative mountain bike trails in Offaly and Sligo, to two iconic Way-Marked Ways in Cork and Mayo.
The funding also includes support for Coillte to maintain the many wonderful walks and trails through woodlands and forests across Ireland. In addition funding will support the extension of the Shannon Erne Blueway in Leitrim and Cavan, reinforcing the role of our inland waterways as a recreational resource of significant tourism potential.”
The Minister continued:
“Local Authorities, State Agencies and communities have spent significant time and effort developing the project proposals over the last number of months and I am very happy to be able to provide the financial resources necessary to support so many projects, whether at local or regional level. I firmly believe that the continued development of our recreational infrastructure will not only support Ireland’s rural tourism potential, but will also provide a diverse range of recreation options for local communities to support their own health and fitness and enjoy the countryside with their families. I hope to make further announcements under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme in the Autumn”.
Details of the projects being funded are available here.
Note to Editors
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding under 3 separate measures:
- Measure 1: Small maintenance/promotion of existing infrastructure (maximum grant €10,000)
- Measure 2: Medium scale repair/upgrade and development of new small/medium infrastructure (maximum grant €100,000)
- Measure 3: Repair/upgrade and development of larger more strategic projects (grant of greater than €100,000 and up to €1 million for exceptional projects).
The scheme will primarily be run by Local Authorities and State Agencies, and funding will be provided to a maximum of 80% of total project costs, with the balance to be provided from Local Authority or other sources.
Projects under Measures 1 and 3 are being approved at this stage. Successful projects under Measure 2 of the scheme will be announced in the Autumn.
Figures available from Fáilte Ireland reveal that in 2014, close to 1.2million visitors to Ireland took part in hiking or cross country walking. These activity tourists spent in the region of €915 million in the Irish economy during their stay. Similar statistics reveal that 286,000 visitors took part in cycling activities with a related spend of some €268 million. These two sectors combined generated revenue for the Irish economy in the region of €1.2 billion in 2014.