Minister Ring launches €11 million Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme for 2017
Mr Michael Ring T.D., Minister of State for Regional Economic Development at the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs today (28th April 2017), announced details of €11 million in funding for Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme will provide funding for the development of outdoor recreational infrastructure and for the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas across Ireland.
The 2017 Scheme will be implemented over a period of up to 15 months to allow for the effective implementation of larger strategic projects, in particular. Applications to the value of €11 million will be approved this year.
In launching the scheme today, Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to be in a position to announce €11 million in funding to ensure the maintenance of existing recreational facilities and the development of some new and exciting outdoor facilities across the country. The facilities and amenities funded through this scheme will create better experiences for visitors to rural areas, enhance the tourism offering and support sustainable economic development in rural areas. Improved recreational facilities will also enhance the quality of life for people who live in, or close to, the supported areas.
The funding forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and reinforces the Government’s commitment to support rural Ireland. Funding will be available for a range of projects, from small scale local projects to large-scale strategic projects. Full details of the scheme will be issued by my Department to all Local Authorities in the coming days. Successful applicants will be announced by the end of June and projects will be expected to commence shortly thereafter.”
Minister Ring added: “Recreational tourism is 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 offer. Increasing Activity Tourism is a key pillar of the Action Plan for Rural Development and recreational pursuits are also proven to improve both physical and mental well-being. The types of facilities which will be funded through this scheme will also serve to showcase the stunning scenery and wonderful places that Ireland has to offer.”
Notes for Editors
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme will provide funding under 3 separate measures:
Measure 1: Small maintenance/promotion of existing infrastructure (maximum grant €10,000)
Measure 2: Medium scale repair/upgrade and development of new small/medium infrastructure (maximum grant €100,000)
Measure 3: Repair/upgrade and development of larger more strategic projects (grant of greater than €100,000 and up to €1 million for exceptional projects).
The scheme will primarily be run by Local Authorities and State Agencies, and funding will be provided to a maximum of 80% of total project costs, with the balance to be provided from Local Authority or other sources.
Figures available from Fáilte Ireland reveal that in 2014, close to 1.2million visitors to Ireland took part in hiking or cross country walking. These activity tourists spent in the region of €915 million in the Irish economy during their stay. Similar statistics reveal that 286,000 visitors took part in cycling activities with a related spend of some €268 million. These two sectors combined generated revenue for the Irish economy in the region of €1.2 billion in 2014.