THE news that County Wexford is to receive €186,250 in Government funding for development of outdoor amenities has been broadly welcomed in the Model County.
Minister James Browne confirmed that the Government will provide €186,250 towards further investment in the county’s outdoor trails with six projects due to benefit from the grant aid.
Min Browne said his colleague, Minister Heather Humphreys, had included the projects for funding support under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS).
The largest allocation is €49,500 which will go towards the ongoing expansion and development of the riverside trail and promenade walk in Enniscorthy town.
Min Browne expressed delight that projects in Wexford will be included and said: “County Wexford projects will benefit from Government funding. The scenic Enniscorthy Riverside Promenade Walk will receive funding to assist the pathway’s expansion.”
He said plans for the Riverside Walk’s expansion are at an early stage and works will continue at pace to extend what he described as a “terrific outdoor amenity”.
“Many people are visiting County Wexford this summer and this announcement will give County Wexford residents and visitors alike another reason to get out and enjoy the outdoors on the Enniscorthy Riverside Promenade Walk,” said Min Browne.
In addition to that funding Min Browne also expressed delight that his home town will also receive funding for the river Slaney bank trail and re-routing with a link to Blackstoops Road.
Other areas of County Wexford that will receive funding under the scheme will include resurfacing of Old Bawn car park near Cahore Point trail while funding will also be provided to install seats along easy graded Wexford walking trails.
In the New Ross area €26,500 will go towards relocating part of the Forge Trail, at Carrigbyrne, with a particular emphasis on relocating part of the trail away from the N25 road.
Funding of €20,250 will also go towards upgrading the walking trails at Curragh, Kilanerin, Newtown and Annagh.
He said the current funding allocation comes in the wake of “unprecedented investment in our outdoor amenities” in recent years, underpinned by the Government’s ambitious rural development policy, ‘Our Rural Future’.
Min Browne said the ORIS scheme will be key to enhancing our outdoor amenities such as our walkways, cycleways, rivers, lakes and beaches. It will also provide a major boost to local economies by attracting visitors and furthering Ireland’s reputation as a destination for adventure tourism.
Min Browne said he will continue to work at ensuring Wexford County Council and community projects in the county benefit from Government support.
Meanwhile, Deputy Paul Kehoe also welcomed the funding and said that in addition to amenities in Wexford the funding scheme will help develop outdoor projects across the country including amenities such as mountain trails, forest walks and facilities at lakes, rivers and beaches.
With regard to County Wexford, Deputy Kehoe said: “It will also provide a major boost to local economies by attracting visitors and furthering our reputation in Wexford as a destination for adventure tourism.”
“Almost €4.3m will be used to improve 163 outdoor amenities across the country and each project will receive up to €30,000 to support their enhancement,” said Deputy Kehoe.
“Outdoor activities in Wexford play a key role in communities and we have seen this throughout the recent pandemic,” he added. “Recreation tourism is growing internationally and has the potential to have major economic spin-off benefits for our rural towns and villages.”
It’s expected that funding for larger scale projects under measures two and three of the ORIS scheme will be announced by Min Humphreys in the coming weeks.
In announcing the funding she commented: “Getting active in the fresh air outdoors can be a tonic for the body and soul and this was brought home to us all during the pandemic. Some of these amenities are often hidden gems on our doorsteps so I’m encouraging people to get out and discover them.”
Cllr Cathal Byrne also welcomed the funding announcement and said it will enable Wexford County Council to improve the walking trail at the Blackstoops end of the town.
“I want to thank the officials in the council who bought into this project from the beginning,” said Cllr Byrne.
“The pandemic showed us the importance of having accessible walking trails and this funding will allow us to add a further attraction to tourists visiting the town and local people living in the Enniscorthy area,” he added.
He also expressed hope that the Enniscorthy Riverside Trail will ultimately be progressed out as far as Edermine Bridge to create a looped walk incorporating the Borodale Woods.
“In the meantime, I am delighted that the minister has allocated this funding and look forward to the works commencing later this year,” he said.
The allocations for Wexford amenities will include: Enniscorthy riverside walk (€49,500); Forge trail relocation, Carrigbyrne (€26,500); Oldbawn Car park, Cahore Point (€30,000); River Slaney banks trail and re-routing link to Blackstoops Road (€30,000); Upgrading trails at Curragh, Kilanerin, Newtown and Annagh (€20,250); Installation of seats on easy graded walking trails in Wexford (€30,000).