Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has launched a major €15 million fund that will support dozens of outdoor adventure activities across the country.
The 2022 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) will see the development of natural amenities such as our mountains, lakes, beaches, bogs, walkways, greenways and blueways.
The Scheme, which saw its funding increased by Minister Humphreys as part of the Budget, will place a particular focus on developing adventure tourism in Rural Ireland.
It will support activities such as hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, swimming and cycling, which were especially popular among families throughout the Pandemic.
This announcement builds on the commitment under “Our Rural Future” to continuing the investment in infrastructure that caters for the growth in both local and international outdoor adventure tourism.
The projects that will be supported under ORIS are designed to benefit the health and wellbeing of the communities in which they are located.
Launching the 2022 scheme Minister Humphreys said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of the 2022 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. To date, the Scheme has provided funding of over €87 million for more than 1,200 projects nationwide. The facilities and amenities funded under this Scheme represent a tremendous long-term asset for rural communities and visitors alike and are clear examples of the impact that “Our Rural Future” is having across Ireland. That’s why I have allocated €15 million to the Scheme as part of the biggest ever financial support package for Rural Ireland which I secured in Budget 2022.”
The Minister continued, “over the past two years we have all become even more aware of the importance of outdoor pursuits and activities. Today’s announcement means that we will continue to invest in our natural amenities so even more people can enjoy the benefits. So, I’m urging applicants to be bold and ambitious with their proposals – so that we can continue to further develop adventure tourism to the benefit of our citizens. I want to acknowledge the support of our partners, Fáilte Ireland, who have once again come on board to contribute to the funding of successful projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.”
ORIS provides funding for the development of new and existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas. It funds trails, cycleways, blueways, bridleways, as well as outdoor amenities located near rivers, lakes and beaches.
The 2022 scheme will provide investment ranging from €30,000 for small scale projects and up to €500,000 for large scale projects. This is an alteration on last year’s scheme, which provided funding ranging from €20,000 instead of €30,000.
The Scheme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and projects applications will be accepted under the following Measures:
- Measure 1 for small scale projects requiring funding of up to €30,000,
- Measure 2 for medium scale projects with funding of up to €200,000,
- Measure 3 for large scale projects seeking funding of up to €500,000, and
- Project Development Measure funding of up to €50,000 for development costs for strategic large scale projects.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said, “I welcome the continued partnership between Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development on the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Opening up the outdoors for cycling, hiking, walking and other pursuits for domestic and international visitors will play an important role in tourism recovery. The range of projects funded throughout Ireland under this scheme to date are excellent and support Ireland’s ambition to be a renowned year round destination for activity tourism. I encourage all eligible applicants to apply for the 2022 opportunities with this scheme and look forward to seeing further development in outdoor recreation infrastructure in the years ahead.”
Fiona Monaghan, Head of Product Development – Activities at Fáilte Ireland added, “the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for critical infrastructure that allows domestic and international visitors to explore the great Irish outdoors. This scheme promotes sustainable development right across the country as funding is available for every county. Universal accessibility is a key goal along with the protection, appreciation and enjoyment of biodiversity and our stunning natural landscape. Fáilte Ireland looks forward to working closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development to implement the scheme for 2022 and further develop our outdoors.”