Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney is urging Galway community and leisure groups to apply for funding under the €10 million Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The scheme is part of a €30 million package of funding supports for Rural Ireland announced by the Department of Rural and Community Development this week.
CLÁR funding of €5 million for areas of population decline and Town and Village Renewal Scheme funding of €15 million were announced earlier this week.
Minister Canney said: “The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has provided vital support for projects all around the Galway East constituency.
“Over the last two years, the Loughrea Walks project has received €200,000 in two allocations, the Lackagh/Knockdoemore Walking Trail and two walking trails at Clarinbridge have each received nearly €200,000, while the Hymany Way at Portumna received €100,000.
Other recipients to benefit have included the Gort River Walks Development Group and Gort TidyTowns, Corofin Community Development Association and the Sliabh Aughty Walking Trail.
“The last two years of the scheme have seen allocations for Galway East in excess of €748,000.

“Support for walking trails, cycleways and other outdoor recreational facilities is even more important in light of the COVID-19 emergency. “They not only provide a healthy form of exercise but they also attract economic activity, which will be critical as the country reopens post the coronavirus.

“I would strongly encourage communities looking to enhance their outdoor recreational amenities to apply.
“My ministerial colleague, Minister Michael Ring, has decided to increase the funding rate that will apply to projects approved under the scheme this year from 80% to a maximum of 90%.
“This should ensure that the requirement on communities and other applicants to source match funding is kept to a minimum.
“He also gave a new mandate last year to Comhairle na Tuaithe (The Countryside Council) to advise on the development of the outdoor recreation sector and to promote the sustainable and responsible use of the outdoors.”
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development in partnership with Fáilte Ireland.
Funding is delivered through local authorities, state agencies and other relevant bodies.

Notes for Editors
Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development of new and existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas, such as cycleways, walking trails, blueways and mountain access routes.
The 2020 Outdoor Recreation
Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) will provide funding under 3 separate measures:
Measure 1: Small Scale repair/Promotion and Marketing (grant up to €20,000).
Measure 2: Medium scale repair/upgrade and new Trail/Amenity Development (grant up to €200,000).
Measure 3: Large scale Repair/upgrade and new Strategic Trail/Amenity Development (grant up to €500,000).
Project applications are submitted via the Local Authorities under all Measures.
Measure 1 is also open to applications from Local Development Companies, while State Agencies can submit applications under Measure 3.
Funding will be provided to a maximum of 90% of total project costs. This increased funding level has been introduced in recognition of the difficulty in raising match funding due to the impact of COVID–19.
Rural Development Investment Programme
The Department of Rural and Community Development’s Rural Development Investment
Programme includes a number of integrated funding interventions:
o Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF)
o Town and Village Renewal Scheme
o Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
o Local Improvement Scheme
o Walks Scheme
The Department’s total funding allocation for 2020 for the Rural Development Investment
Programme is €149.7 million.

Comhairle na Tuaithe
Comhairle na Tuaithe (the Countryside Council) was originally established in 2004 to support responsible access to the countryside for recreational users and to develop a National Countryside Recreational Strategy. Comhairle is made up of key stakeholders, including farmers, recreational users of the countryside, and State bodies such as Sport Ireland, Coillte and Failte Ireland.
In June 2019, Minister Ring presented a new vision and mandate to Comhairle na Tuaithe to reinforce and strengthen its advisory role in relation to the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland.
In its new mandate, Comhairle is also asked to identify opportunities to develop rural enterprises based on outdoor recreation activity, and to consider the scope for the development of a new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy, taking account of recent developments and investments across the sector.

Comhairle na Tuaithe is chaired by Dr Liam Twomey.

For more information, contact Minister Canney on 086-2513639
May 29 2020