Kildare South TD and chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, Martin Heydon has welcomed the announcement that €85,684 has been secured for an outdoor recreation project in Athy.
This funding, provided under Measure 2 of the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure.
It also supports the maintenance, enhancement and promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland.
Deputy Heydon said: “I very much welcome the funding for the re-establishment of a walkway from Grand Canal – Lennon’s Bridge to Augustus Bridge in Athy.
“Recreational tourism is a growing part of Ireland’s tourism offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and overseas visitors enjoying the many greenways, blueways and walking trails which have been developed around the country in recent years.
“This is generating income for rural areas and helping to create more jobs in the hospitality and leisure sectors here in Kildare.
“Figures available from Fáilte Ireland reveal that in 2017, 26% of all overseas tourists engaged in some level of hiking or cross-country walking.
“This equates to 2.3 million tourists, spending an estimated €1.3 bn during their stay in Ireland. A further 451,000 overseas tourists took part in cycling activities.
“Our local communities here in Kildare are also using these facilities in large numbers.
“The continued development of our recreational infrastructure will not only support our developing rural tourism industry, but will also provide better recreation options for local people and families for their own enjoyment of the countryside” said Heydon.
Minister for Rural & Community Development Michael Ring said: “The funding being announced today builds on the €10 million which I allocated during 2018 to 150 projects under Measures 1 and 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme and brings the total investment from the 2018 call for proposals to almost €21 million.
“Over €40 million has now been allocated to almost 600 projects under this scheme since 2016 to improve existing, and develop new, walking trails, greenways and other recreational amenities for communities and visitors all over Ireland.”