Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring
Three Carlow projects have been included in a €1.8 million fund under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, on Tuesday announced that he has approved over €1.8 million in funding for 128 projects under Measure 1 of the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as greenways, blueways and other trails.
The grants being awarded on Tuesday relate to small local projects, with funding of up to €20,000 being provided for maintenance works and the promotion of existing recreation infrastructure.
The Carlow projects which have been approved funding are:
Upper River Barrow; for a better and safer access strategy; From Maganey Bridge to Bagenalstown (comprising 6 rural village) through upgraded signage and map boards (€16,089.81)
Carlow Outdoors; Development of a "Carlow Outdoors" web-site with operational and strategic marketing support for the Carlow walking experience including social media capabilities, marketing and promotional campaign (€14,400.00)
Lower River Barrow; for a better and safer access strategy; From Fenniscourt to St Mullins (comprising 7 rural village/access points), upgrade signage and map boards (€16,778.20)
Making the announcement, 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 the last few years.
"I am very happy to announce today’s funding of €1.8 million for 128 local projects around the country. These projects will enhance existing recreational facilities for the benefit of the communities who use them every day, and also for the many tourists who enjoy visiting our rural areas.
"Projects approved under this Measure include the upgrading of surfaces on walking trails, improvements to route signage, the development of promotional materials, and the provision of bicycle stands, to name just a few.
"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.
"The type of projects funded through this scheme will include greenways, cycleways and loop walks. 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."
Minister Ring added: "Local Development Companies, County Councils and communities have all worked together to develop these proposals and I am very happy to be able to provide the financial resources necessary to support so many projects at local level.
"I have seen myself, first-hand, how a small level of investment in outdoor recreational facilities in rural areas across Ireland can make a significant difference to local communities and to attracting visitors.
"There was a huge level of interest in the funding available for local projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme this year, and I’m pleased to have been able to approve 128 applications within the resources available for this Measure."
The scheme will be run by Local Development Companies, Local Authorities and State Agencies, and funding will be provided to a maximum of 80% of total project cost, with the balance to be provided from other sources.
Projects under Measure 1 are being approved at this stage.