Charlie Flanagan TD Minister for Justice & Equality, Gerard Murphy MD Coillte and Paul Duffy Metro Building Contractors 'break ground' for the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trail. Pic Ger Rogers.
The Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike trail in Laois and Offaly is part of a tourism project which is set to benefit from a €10 million cash injection.
The project is part of a multi-county Coillte-led project to get a slice of the €62 million Rural Regeneration and Development Fund announced by Michael Ring Minister for Rural and Community Development.
A total of €10,262,900 will be split between the Slieve Bloom Trail and similar projects around Ireland.
"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); Ticknock/Ballinastoe (Wicklow & Dublin)," said a statement.
Coillte is leading the development of all the projects and the Laois Offaly trail has the support of local authorities in both counties.
Minister Ring's Department believes the development of the national mountain-biking project will create recreational facilities in four locations across seven counties, promoting economic tourism potential in the process
The announcement 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.
The aim of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund aims to revitalise rural Ireland by supporting self-sustaining projects in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000.
“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.
“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," said Minister Ring.
Fáilte Ireland has today welcomed the announcement of Government funding for tourism projects. Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development at Fáilte Ireland was present for the announcement.
“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," she said.
Coillte has already completed part of the Slieve Bloom project which is set to be open for business in 2019.
A total of 66 projects will be allocated funding of the €62 million announced by Minister Ring. It is being awarded as part of the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which is a component of Project Ireland 2040.