Michael Ring T.D., the Minister for Rural and Community Development has announced details of €12 million in funding for the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme for 2018. The Scheme will provide funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways, blueways and cycleways. Applications to the value of €12 million will be approved this year and the scheme will be implemented up to the end of 2019.
Minister Ring said: “On the back of a very successful scheme last year I am delighted to be in a position to announce a further €12 million in funding to ensure the development of new and exciting outdoor facilities across the country and the maintenance of existing recreational facilities.
“The type of projects funded through this scheme will include greenways, blueways and cycleways. These are wonderful amenities which enable local communities to get out and experience the natural environment and which also attract visitors, thus benefitting the local economy.
“Improved recreational facilities significantly enhance the quality of life for people who live close to the projects and also support sustainable economic development in rural areas. We have seen this time and again with the projects supported by this scheme since its introduction in 2016.
Minister Ring added: “Recreational tourism continues to be a significant growth area and the natural resources available to us here in Ireland offer great potential to avail of the economic benefits that this type of tourism can offer.
“Increasing Activity Tourism is a key pillar of the Action Plan for Rural Development and recreational pursuits are also proven to improve both physical and mental well-being. The types of facilities which will be funded through this scheme will also serve to showcase the stunning scenery and wonderful places that Ireland has to offer.
“I am particularly pleased to announce that Local Development Companies, many of whom have been very actively involved in the development of outdoor recreation amenities locally and the administration of the very successful Walks Scheme, will be eligible applicants in their own right or as partners in Local Authority applications.
In addition to the funding I am announcing today, my Department will provide €2 million this year to Coillte for the development of its leisure and recreational amenities in recognition of the importance of Coillte’s facilities for recreational users.”
Funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure scheme will be available for a range of initiatives, from small scale local projects to larger strategic projects with a regional or national impact. The scheme strongly encourages a collaborative approach, particularly in relation to the larger strategic projects, between communities, Local Development Companies, Local Authorities and other relevant bodies.
Full details of the scheme will be issued by the Department of Rural and Community Development to all Local Authorities and other relevant bodies in the coming days.