THE Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced almost €3.2 million in funding for 173 projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The funding aims to develop the country’s trails, walkways, cycleways, and blueways and represents a 20% increase in funding for outdoor projects compared to 2020. The funding, will support small-scale local projects with funding of up to €20,000 each. It was announced in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, which is co-funding the projects with the Department of Rural and Community Development.
13 Cork projects in total have secured funding as a result of the Minister's announcement. Two examples include a walking trail development at Camden Fort Trail, while the planned redevelopment of walks along with improving disability access and the development of a sensory path will also commence at Island Wood, in Newmarket.
Minister Humphreys welcomed the additional funding which has been allocated. “The last year has demonstrated the importance of outdoor amenities for our physical and mental wellbeing. There has been a notable increase in the number of people using our walking trails, cycleways, parks and other resources to exercise, while respecting the guidelines on social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I am delighted to support the continued development and enhancement of outdoor recreation infrastructure through the allocation of almost €3.2 million for 173 projects across the country, with a particular focus on rural areas. These facilities will represent a tremendous long-term asset for rural communities and visitors alike into the future,” she said.
Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland, revealed tourism businesses benefit greatly from outdoor recreation.
“These trails are environmentally sustainable and are a great opportunity for people to explore and learn more about biodiversity and the natural environment of our island,” she added.