Minister Peter Burke at Killucan Cyclepath

Over €320,000 announced for Killucan, Lough Lene and Tullaghan

Minister Peter Burke has welcomed significant further funding for Westmeath announced by Minister Heather Humphreys under the Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors.

Described as an ambitious and transformational five year national outdoor recreation strategy, successful projects include €123,120 for Killucan Cyclepath; €95,086 for Lough Lene Way, pedestrian and cycle link from the cemetery; and €106,797 for the Tullaghan to Levington cycleway and footpath towards Lough Owel.

“We have seen the Minister For Rural and Community Development, my colleague Minister Heather Humphreys, continue to allocate significant sums to support recreational activities and public amenities in Rural Ireland. I welcome this further tranche of funding, which sees over €300,000 invested into Westmeath for our children, families and individuals to enjoy," commented Minister Peter Burke, TD.

“Since Fine Gael set up this Department in 2017, first under Mayo’s Michael Ring, we have seen funding for Rural Ireland targeted and increased. We can now enjoy many projects which have been delivered by Westmeath County Council with government funding and we have top class amenities on our doorsteps, including water sports, cycleways and greenways across the county.

“This funding will be maintained and I hope increased over time as it offers great value to rural communities and families, supporting healthy living and social interaction for all groups”.

Other projects being funded across the Midlands are the North Longford Rebel Trail Phase 2, which will see €500,000 go towards the Monaduff to Ballinamuck trail; the Offaly Derryounce Lakes and Trails, Portarlington, providing €112,191 to create a link to the Derryounce trail from both Laois and Offaly; while in Meath, €200,000 will go towards the Boyne Valley to Lakelands Greenway Kilmainhamwood - Whitewood Lough Link; €93,600 towards the Royal Canal Greenway Hazel and Holly Trail Upgrade, Enfield Harbour Extend Hazel and Holly trail on the Royal Canal Greenway; and €64,800 towards the Kilberry Looped Walking Trail whiche will provide a walking route in Kilberry linking Tennis Court, Graveyard and Medieval Church.

Minister Humphreys said the pandemic awakened a new discovery to explore amongst the Irish public.

"When we were confined to our counties or we could only meet friends and family outdoors, we gained a new found appreciation for the unique amenities we have on our doorstep whether it’s our forest parks, our mountain trails, our rivers, our greenways or our stunning beaches.

“Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is about building on this momentum. It is about the strategic development of Ireland’s Outdoor Recreation sector so we can deliver maximum benefits to communities across the country.

“Those benefits are huge. Spending time outdoors supports our mental and physical health and it improves our quality of life. There also huge economic benefits, particularly for rural communities, with over 2.7m overseas visitors taking part in outdoor activities every year in Ireland. Through this strategy I believe we can make Ireland the destination of choice internationally for outdoor recreation and adventure tourism."

Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors focuses on bringing a more joined-up and cohesive approach to the development of outdoor recreation infrastructure at both a national and county level. As part of the strategy new Outdoor Recreation Committees will be established in every County to ensure there is a focused and strategic approach to the development of local amenities.

Building on this ground-up, locally led approach, the Minister is today announcing €14m for the development of 59 outdoor recreation amenities and to support outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, and cycling."

Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors was developed in partnership with Comhairle na Tuaithe and is a collaborative cross-Government strategy that reflects the views of stakeholders and the public. The new strategy will set the stage to strengthen and support the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland for years to come bringing huge economic and health benefits to communities across the country.

Concluding Minister Humphreys thanked stakeholders and the public for their engagement in developing the strategy:

“Significant stakeholder and public engagement has been at the core of the development of this Strategy. I would like to thank the members of Comhairle na Tuaithe for their tireless work in developing the Strategy. Thanks to the high level of stakeholder and public engagement Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is a truly collaborative Strategy that will set the stage to strengthen and support the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland for years to come."

Nationwide, projects include:

Clare: Cliffs of Moher North Coastal Walk - Repair and upgrade of a looped section of the Cliffs of Moher North Coastal Walk - €500,000

Wexford: Kilmore Quay Recreation Trail - Develop cycle path along the canal, completing a looped walking trail plus footbridge and carpark - €500,000

Wicklow: Roundwood Recreation Area - Provision of a bike hub, bridge, signage, waymarking and promotion of Roundwood Recreation Area - €495,000

Donegal: Carrigart to Downings Walkway - Develop a section of walkway between Carrigart and Downings - €500,000

Waterford: Cappoquin Railway Bridge Loop Walk- Phase 1 - Develop Cappoquin Railway Bridge Loop Walk between Millwheel Park and Rowing Club Grounds - €500,000

Laois: River Erkina Community Blueway - The development of a floating pontoon and access at Castle Durrow Demesne, a foot bridge on the River Goul at its confluence with the River Erkina, carpark and access at the Woodenbridge and access steps at Boston Bridge - €191,728

Tipperary: Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir Blueway - Upgrading of 20km Suir Blueway Tipperary between Clonmel & Carrick-on-Suir - €450,000

Roscommon: Lough Key, Doon Shore and Boyle Canal/River - Installation of accessible for all kayak/canoe easy launch systems in Lough Key, Doon Shore and Boyle Canal/River - €199,800

Galway: Creggs Mountain Walk Develop Creggs Mountain Walk – an element of Beara-Breifne Way & Suck Valley Way - €200,000.