Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme
60. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development when she expects to announce successful applications under the outdoor recreation scheme; her plans to operate the scheme in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44119/20]
The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme supports the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure and the maintenance or enhancement of existing infrastructure. It provides vital funding for amenities such as walking trails, cycleways, blue ways and mountain access routes.
Since the funding began in 2016, €52 million has been allocated to 747 projects countrywide. This year, projects applications were accepted under 3 Measures:
Measure 1 for small scale projects requiring funding of up to €20,000,
Measure 2 for medium scale projects with funding of up to €200,000, and
Measure 3 for large scale projects seeking funding of up to €500,000.
This 2020 Scheme was launched on the 29thMay last in collaboration with Fáilte Ireland and with an indicative budget of €10 million from my Department's Vote.
The closing date for receipt of applications under Measure 1 was the 30thSeptember 2020. My Department has received 193 applications, seeking funding of €3.6 million, under this Measure. The assessment of these applications is nearly complete and I expect to make an announcement on the approved projects shortly.
The closing date for Measure 2 and Measure 3 projects was the 30thNovember 2020. The review and assessment of these applications will be completed early in the New Year.
It is my intention to run a new Call for Proposals under the Outdoor Recreation Scheme in 2021 and I was pleased to secure an additional €2 million in Exchequer funding for the scheme next year. This will bring my Department's budget for the scheme next year to €12 million, with additional funding being provided by Fáilte Ireland as partners in the scheme.