New funding has been secured for the expansion of the Grand Canal Greenway in Offaly.
A combined total of €400,000 has been allocated by the the Minister for Rural Community Development, Michael Ring TD for two projects on the Greenway. Two hundred thousand euro will go towards the completion of a new track linking the Grand Canal Greenway at Ballycommon Bridge to the Royal Canal Greenway at Campbell's Bridge, Kilbeggan, while a further €200,000 has been earmarked for the extension of the Grand Canal Greenway in Pullough to the Lough Boora Discovery Park.
The news has been welcomed by Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, who says that the completion of these projects will “greatly enhance this important amenity”.
The linking of the Grand Canal Greenway and Royal Canal Greenway is a positive development and will encourage greater numbers of tourists into the area.
“Ireland is witnessing steady growth in recreational tourism and it is hugely important that Offaly develops its infrastructure to ensure that it provides an attractive offering to this growing market. This tourism activity will generate income in our towns and rural areas and will create and sustain employment in the tourism sector. Data provided by Fáilte Ireland shows that 26% of all overseas tourists to Ireland in 2017 took part in hiking or cross-country walking.
“The continued development of the Greenway infrastructure across Offaly will be of huge benefit to local people and will encourage us all to become more active and healthy.”
Making the announcement, Minister Ring said: “Recreational tourism is a growing part of Ireland’s tourism offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and overseas visitors enjoying the many Greenways, blueways and walking trails which have been developed around the country in recent years. This is generating income for rural areas and helping to create more jobs in the hospitality and leisure sectors".