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Over €10 million in funds has been allocated to aid in the completion of several national mountain biking trails on Coillte lands.
A total of €10,262,900 will be split between the Ballinastoe, Ticknock, Slieve Bloom, Collaney and Ballyhoura biking trails.
The initiative comes from a multi-county project led by Coillte to benefit from the €62 million Rural Regeneration and Development Fund that was announced by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring.
“This flagship national project will develop international standard Mountain Biking Trails which will provide recreational, health and tourism benefits. The locations include: Slieve Bloom (Offaly & Laois); Collaney (Sligo); Ballyhoura (Limerick & Cork); and Ticknock/Ballinastoe (Wicklow & Dublin),” said a statement from the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Ring’s Department believes that the generation and completion of these recreational mountain bike facilities in four locations across seven different counties will promote economic tourism in Ireland.
“This fund is a clear demonstration of Project Ireland 2040 in action and is further evidence of this government’s commitment to rural communities. These investments will have a transformative effect on many rural towns, villages and outlying areas,” said Ring.
“These projects are ambitious and strategic in nature. The funding will transform communities by delivering projects in sectors such as tourism, agri-food and recreation. After today, every county in the country will be benefitting from the Rural Fund,” he added.
The goal of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is to support self-sustaining projects that will revitalise rural Irish towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000.
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The announcement for this initiative took place in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan where Minister Ring was joined by Heather Humphreys TD, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development.
Fáilte Ireland has also welcomed the announcement of this funding for Irish tourism efforts.
“This funding will greatly enhance attractions throughout rural Ireland which will boost visitor numbers to the regions and support local job creation in the tourism sector,” said Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland.
Coillte has already completed a portion of the Slieve Bloom trails, which are set to be open in 2019.
A total of 66 different projects will benefit from the €62 million allocated from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, which comes from a €1 billion budget for Project Ireland 2040.
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By Heather Snelgar
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