Funding for a number of local small-scale walking routes

Some 14 projects across Westmeath and Roscommon are to receive funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

The allocations were announced recently by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys as part of a national funding allocation of €3.5 million to support 189 outdoor projects across the country.

The scheme is designed to support the enhancement of dozens of recreational amenities such as our mountain trails, forest walks, beaches, rivers, lakes, blueways and greenways.

Projects across every county have been chosen for investment of up to €20,000 under Measure 1 of the scheme is aimed at small scale repair/development/promotion and marketing.

Funding for larger projects under Measure 2 and 3 of the scheme will be announced by Minister Humphreys in the coming weeks.

Five of the six projects set to receive funding in Westmeath are in the north and east of the county. The remaining project is the county-wide Triobike Rickshaw initiative, which aims to provide two triobike richshaws for use by Age Friendly Groups across the county. This county- wide initiative received €20,000.

In Roscommon, three of the eight projects have local impacts.

Some €20,000 in funding has been allocated for a plan to link Judy’s Harbour Amenity Area to Rinnegan Loop walkway/cycleway in Rindoon, Lecarrow, via a walkway/cycleway.

There is also almost €6,500 in funding to develop a 2.5km marked walk linking Portrunny Bay on the shores of Lough Ree with Clooncagh Walk to include eco-friendly art easels and seating.

Another €20,000 is being provided for the design and printing of a county map which notes all the trails, cycleway and access/ points of interest on the lakes and rivers of the county, including the River Shannon.

Announcing the national funding Minister Humphreys said:

“We are now seeing an unprecedented level of investment in our outdoor amenities, underpinned by the most ambitious Government policy for Rural Ireland, ‘Our Rural Future’.

“The funding that I am announcing today will further develop and improve outdoor projects in rural communities across the country.

“We will carry out upgrades to our mountain trails and forest walks so that we can further unlock the beauty of our rural countryside.

“And under this fund, we will continue to develop our greenways, cycleways and blueways.

“COVID-19 has given us a newfound appreciation for our great outdoors.

“That’s why I’m delighted that we can support so many fantastic projects under this funding.”

Local TD Denis Naughten welcomed the allocation of €139,406 in total for the enhancement of a number of public walks throughout County Roscommon.

The funding has been allocated to support a range of ongoing outdoor community projects, he said.

“This investment will not only improve accessibility for a broad range of walking routes but also allow a far greater number of people of varying mobilities to enjoy the work of these local community groups” said Denis Naughten.

“The funding will further enhance facilities for local families, tourists, visitors as well as making County Roscommon an even more attractive place to live and work”.