Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment Denis Naughten has confirmed Government investment of €68,000 to develop walking facilities in Castlerea Demesne and a walk for wheelchair users along the Suck Valley Way.
“These investments will not only improve local facilities to encourage people to become more active but also enhance the tourism amenities for those visiting Castlerea, Cuisle in Donamon and for those using the Suck Valley Way,” said Minister Naughten.
“An allocation of €21,973 has been allocated to create a walk for wheelchair users along the Suck Valley Way which will build on the funding provided by my Department to the local angling hub to develop wheelchair accessible angling facilities on the River Suck.
“Funding of €46,374 is being provided to develop hard surface walking trails in Castlerea Demesne and will build on the work of the local committee in improving the facilities and usage of the fabulous Castlerea Demesne. I would actively encourage anybody visiting Castlerea or passing through to stop off and explore this hidden gem in West Roscommon.
“This investment is part of a far broader project which I have been supporting to develop a walking route from west Cork, through east Galway, west and north Roscommon, connecting up the Glens of Antrim – called the Beara Breifne Way – which has the potential to become Ireland’s ‘Camino route’. This walking and cycling trail is based on the historic march of O’Sullivan Beara in 1603 and links 60 villages and towns along the spine of the country,” added Minister Naughten.
“The villages and towns in counties Galway and Roscommon through which the walk/cycle route runs are rich in tradition but have seen limited numbers of tourists. The development of this trail will be a major benefit in attracting tourism to these areas.
“We have already seen the Wild Atlantic Way become a great success for the west coast. The Beara Breifne Way could do the same for the centre of the country if developed fully, and that is why I’ve continued to secure Government support for the project, since my appointment”.
Local politicians react to ‘welcome boost’
Local politicians have welcomed Monday’s announcement that €68,000 will be made available for outdoor recreation in Co. Roscommon.
Fine Gael Senator Maura Hopkins believes the funding will provide a welcome boost for the county.
“The works include hard surface walking trails within the Castlerea Demesne Public Park which will be finished with tarmacadam to ensure safety for users. Furthermore, the planned project involves age friendly signage and seating. The development of this walkway will greatly enhance this wonderful facility on the doorstep of the Castlerea Community.
“The development of wheelchair accessible walkways on the Suck Valley Way provides a valuable opportunity for the area to become equipped with a facility which will not only benefit all people in our the community but will enhance the tourism and recreational facilities for the area”.
Fellow Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan said the announcement was great news for local communities.
“This is great news for local communities. The scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure such as trails, cycle-ways and blueways, as well as the maintenance, enhancement and promotion of existing infrastructure”.
Cllr Michael Creaton also welcomed the allocation of over €46,000 for the development of hard surface walking tracks in Castlerea Demesne. Cllr Creaton said: “This parkland area is a wonderful amenity in the town and that this funding would ensure the safety of the large numbers of people who use it”.
Funding to develop ‘Walks for Wheelchairs’
Cllr Orla Leyden, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council has warmly welcomed the outdoor recreation funding to Co. Roscommon from the Department of Rural and Community Development to enhance walkways in the Demesne Castlerea and to develop a Walk for Wheelchairs at Stoneham’s Lake (Linn Ban Lake).
“The Walks for Wheelchairs and for people with lesser mobility will be a great additional accessible amenity in the area,” she said.
“It will be developed on the stunning lakeside of Stoneham’s, close to the accessible fishing stand with benches and viewing areas for wheelchairs over the Lake and Crannog at intervals. This will also provide great opportunities for bird watching. Cllr Leyden said that this accessible recreational and tourism amenity will also benefit Cuisle IWA National Respite Centre.
“Local groups that supported the development include Kilbegnet Development Association, Castlecoote Tidy Towns, Cuisle IWA National Holiday Centre, The Suck Valley Development Association and The Castlecoote Donamon Creggs Rural Tourism and Environmental Action Group”.
Cllr Leyden said that the idea for this project was borne from the threat of an industrial wind farm in the Castlecoote Donamon Creggs area which came to light last February.
“The community when seeking positive sustainable tourism alternatives made a number of suggestions including the development of Walks for Wheelchairs beside Stonehams Lake on Coillte lands,” she said.