Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1382)

Tony McLoughlin


1382. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if a walking trail (details supplied) in County Leitrim can be given special consideration to be allocated funding for expansion under the walks scheme in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19565/19]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Walks Scheme currently covers 39 trails, with payments made to approximately 1,900 private land-holders to maintain those trails.

The Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to increase the number of walks covered by the scheme.  In line with this commitment, funding for the scheme was doubled in Budget 2019 - from €2 million to €4 million - to allow this expansion to proceed.

In February of this year, I invited Expressions of Interest from trail management committees, community groups and other entities for the inclusion in the scheme of additional trails that meet specific qualifying criteria.

Qualifying trails will:

- be available to the public,

- be of a suitable standard to be included in Sport Ireland’s trail register, and

- have all private landowners along the entire route willing to join the scheme and to allow access to the public.

Formal Expressions of Interest will only be accepted from Local Authorities and/or Local Development Companies. Interested groups should therefore make contact with these bodies to commence the process.

I understand that an Expression of Interest in respect of the trail referred to by the Deputy to join the scheme has not as yet been submitted to my Department for consideration.