Latest Laois News: €770K for Outdoor Recreation Amenities in Laois & Offaly

Latest Laois News: €770K for Outdoor Recreation Amenities in Laois & Offaly

Minister Humphreys announces €6 million for 14 major adventure tourism projects

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D., has today  (22nd March 2021) announced over €6 million for 14 large-scale projects under Measure 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Investment in Blueways, Greeways, Mountain Bike Trails, Forest Parks & Angling facilities

The investment involves a significant development of many of our most popular outdoor amenities such as trails, walkways, cycleways, and blueways.

Today’s funding will benefit 14 projects with investments of up to €500,000 each.

It is in addition to the €9.7 million approved for 212 small and medium projects earlier this year, and is being funded in partnership with Fáilte Ireland.

Minister Hackett had this to say about the announcement:

Outdoor recreation in Laois-Offaly is receiving €770,000 funding in this latest announcement. Mountain biking has become a hugely popular activity and it’s great to see it being developed in the Slieve Bloom mountains, with Kinnity as a base. €500,000 is to be spent developing the biking trails. A further €270,000 will be spent on an orientation strategy for the mountain range. In addition to recent spending on the Grand Canal Greenway and the Shannon Master Tourism Plan, this adds greatly to Laois-Offaly’s tourism offering.”

photo of trails in Slieve Bloom Mountains
Huge boost for tourism in Slieve Bloom Mountains and Laois

Minister Humphreys: Major spin-off economic benefits for rural communities

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“I know how important our outdoor amenities have been to everyone during Covid-19.

“That’s why one of my main priorities as Minister for Rural and Community Development will continue to be investing in the great outdoors: Our greenways blueways, trails, cycle paths and forest walks.

“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has provided invaluable investment for outdoor amenities and facilities in rural areas over the past five years. 

“In fact, since 2016, my Department has supported almost 1,000 projects.

“I am delighted to announce the allocation of a further €6 million for 14 projects large-scale projects today. These projects will support the development and expansion of significant outdoor amenities and trails throughout the country which will benefit local communities and visitors alike.

“The investment will also have major spin-off economic benefits for our rural communities.”

photo of trail in Slieve Blooms
Great news for the Slieve Bloom Mountains and Laois

Funding made in partnership with Fáilte Ireland

Minister Humphreys added:

“Today’s allocation brings the total investment under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme since the start of this year to €15.7 million, with 226 projects being funded.

“This investment is making a significant contribution to supporting healthy, active lifestyles while also building upon the economic and tourism potential of rural areas. 

“All counties that applied for funding have benefited from investment under the scheme this year, across the three funding announcements which I have made since January.

“Once again, I want to acknowledge the support of my Cabinet Colleague, Minister Catherine Martin, and our partners, Fáilte Ireland, who are contributing to the funding of successful projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.”

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said:

“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) has funded 212 projects to date, and I welcome today’s announcement of a further €6 million in funding for 14 additional large scale projects around the country.

“Outdoor recreation and activities play a key role in the development of sustainable tourism nationwide, and these projects will encourage tourists and locals alike to experience the unique Irish countryside and natural environment.”

Locals with Michael G Phelan and Alison Bailey at the Woodenbridge for
the launch of the Woodenbridge Paddlers 30 Day Paddle Challenge where
they will complete a course over the river in all the 30 days of April
supporting the Erkina Blueway Project.

Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development, Fáilte Ireland said:

“Today’s announcement of €6 million investment into 14 large scale projects around Ireland provides for new and enhanced outdoor activity infrastructure for tourists in Ireland.

“The availability of world-class outdoor activities and experiences like trails, cycleways and blueways will play a key role in tourism as we prepare for re-opening and recovery, and the variety and regional spread of these projects, along with those funded in earlier measures of the ORIS Scheme, will benefit communities and visitors nationwide.”