Waterways Ireland has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Heather Humphreys, TD, of €842,000 funding under the REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zones) initiative, which will stimulate economic development along rural waterways, Blueways and their hinterlands. The contribution to communities across the waterway corridors is highly significant as the development of high quality assets provide a suitable platform for development of new businesses, employment and growth all of which will impact on quality of life and recreational opportunities in waterway communities.
Under the 2016 REDZ scheme, just over €5.3 million was approved for 41 projects of which 8 were Local Authority-led projects impacting on the wider waterway network; from Bagnelstown on the Barrow to Banagher on the Shannon and Scarriff/Nenagh on Lough Derg, to Ballinamore on the Shannon-Erne Waterway.
Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said “The REDZ scheme aims to improve links between rural towns and their hinterlands to stimulate activity at a local level. It is one of a number of schemes which my Department has been rolling out to boost economic activity and improve living standards across rural Ireland."
Dawn Livingstone, Chief Executive, Waterways Ireland stated " We look forward to working with the Local Authorities in the future including the County Councils in Carlow, Westmeath, Tipperary, Clare, Galway, Longford and Leitrim in the further development of assets, including the Blueways initiative, that will draw both local people and tourists to experience the unique and special communities along our navigations."
The projects that successfully received funding along the waterways corridors include:
€100,000 Bagnelstown, Carlow: Enhancement of Tourism potential using a multi-centre approach in Co Carlow
€50,000 Banagher, Offaly: Enhance town around marina
€96,000 Westmeath: Blueways and Greenways unlocking potential in the Athlone Municipal District
€96,000 Westmeath: The Royal Canal Cycleway Extension in the Mullingar Municipal District (Royal Canal to Lough Owel Amenity Area)
€100,000 Longford: Corlea Walking Route
€100,000 Clones, Monaghan: Greenway, car park
€100,000 Ballinamore, Leitrim: Assist towards the development of an Angling Centre
€200,000 Scarriff/Nenagh Clare: Scoping, Developing, Marketing & promoting the Lough Derg Blueway.