Ireland’s rural regeneration program will renovate outdoor recreation infrastructure

In Ireland, details of the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme as part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Programme for Rural Regeneration have been announced.

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, said, “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 bring to rural areas. Over 600 projects throughout the country have been supported by the Scheme since I introduced it in 2016.

For example, the magnificent Royal Canal Greenway, which has received funding through the Scheme, is helping to attract visitors to parts of Longford and Westmeath which were not previously on the tourism map. When complete, this trail will run from Dublin to the River Shannon along the Royal Canal, allowing visitors to get into the heart of Ireland which will greatly benefit areas along the route,” he added.

Increasing Activity Tourism is a key pillar of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, and the type of facilities which will be funded through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme will include greenways, blueways, walking trails and other recreation infrastructure which will showcase the stunning scenery and wonderful places that Ireland has to offer,” Ring continued.

The program will provide funding for the development of new facilities, and for the maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas across Ireland. The Scheme is administered and funded by the Department with additional funding being provided by Fáilte Ireland.

Fiona Monaghan, Head of Product Development – Activities at Fáilte Ireland said, “One of Fáilte Ireland’s strategic objectives is to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are spread regionally across the country and we warmly welcome today’s announcement. We will continue to work closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development to deliver quality visitor experiences nationwide to ensure vibrant local communities, economically and socially.

This funding will greatly enhance attractions throughout rural Ireland, boosting visitor numbers to the regions and supporting local job creation in the tourism sector. The funding is a huge vote of confidence by the Government in tourism and reinforces the integral role that tourism plays in the national economy,” she added.

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is delivered through Local Authorities, State Agencies and other relevant bodies. The program funds projects from small-scale local projects, to large projects which have a regional impact. Funding ranges from €5,000 to €500,000, depending on the scale and quality of the project.

Ring explained, “The amenities funded through this scheme will enhance the quality of life for people who live in, or close to, the supported projects. It will also create better experiences for visitors to rural areas, enhance the tourism offering and support sustainable economic development in rural areas. Strengthening rural economies and communities is one of the strategic objectives of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy. The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme plays an important part in that strategy for rural communities.

I have secured €10 million in my Department’s budget for 2019 for the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme and I am delighted that Fáilte Ireland will also be investing additional funding in 2019, following a very successful collaboration with my Department on this scheme in 2018,” he concluded.

Photo of the Royal Canal Greenway courtesy of Royal Canal Greenway.

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