My Department is aware that, since the establishment of Comhairle na Tuaithe in 2004, and the publication of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy in 2006, there has been significant growth in the number of people engaging in outdoor pursuits across a wider range of activities than ever before.
In this context, an independent review of Comhairle and the Countryside Recreation Strategy was carried out in 2016 to assess, amongst other issues, the role of the body in an evolving outdoor recreation sector.
I met with the members of Comhairle in early 2018 to hear directly from them their views on the recommendations of the independent review, on the future direction of Comhairle, and on the development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland generally. The meeting was very constructive in helping me to consider and develop detailed plans for the future development of the sector.
My officials presented initial proposals to the Comhairle members at a meeting of 16th May 2018 and, through my officials, I received detailed feedback from the members on those proposals. I have considered that feedback in the context of a wider focus on the development of the rural recreation sector and I will make a final decision regarding the future mandate of Comhairle na Tuaithe shortly.