Substantial investment in Leitrim Blueways announced for 2020

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Substantial invesmtnet in Leitrim Blueways announced for 2020

Acres Walk, Shannon Blueway Drumshanbo

There will be substantial investment in local Blueways next year according to the Government.

Cavan Fianna Fáil Deputy Brendan Smith asked about the plans to extend the Blueways nationwide in 2020 during questions in Dáil Eireann last week.

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaelteacht Josepha Madigan outlined that Waterways Ireland continue to invest in Blueways and recreational trails for the benefit of the local community and tourists alike. During 2020 there are plans for substantial investment in Blueways with financial support from the local authorities and funding from the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Blueway and recreational trail development planned for 2020 includes:

Leitrim Village to Kilclare Blueway -3.9km Blueway trail from Lock 16 – Lock 14 &; Lock 12 – Lock 9 in Co. Leitrim

Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo Recreational Trail -360m recreational trail and bridge underpass from Aghoo Bridge to Lock 4 Aghoo, Co. Leitrim

Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Bridge Recreational trail -5.5km recreational trail from Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan to Bellaheady Bridge, Co. Cavan primarily along the banks of the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

Belturbet to Lock 1 Corraquill Recreational Trail -6km recreational trail from Belturbet, Co. Cavan to Lock 1 Corraquill, Co. Cavan

Capital funding will also be utilised to take forward further Blueway developments such as from Lough Allen, Drumshanbo  to The Lough Allen Hotel and the Rooskey Canal Loop.

These projects are currently at differing stages of concept design, environmental studies, planning and identification of suitable funding mechanisms in order to bring to fruition. They are all partnership projects between local communities, the local authorities and Waterways Ireland. Waterways Ireland has set aside a budget of €60,000 to take forward these projects in 2020.

Waterways Ireland are planning to continue a programme of marketing and promotional activities aimed at activating, animating and encouraging users to the existing Blueways in 2020.

Such a programme will include:

- Undertaking a Head into the Blue marketing campaign to promote water activity;

- Working towards a common goal with Fáilte Ireland through their Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands propositions;

- Forming and growing other Strategic Partnerships to leverage marketing impact through e.g. Local Authorities, NGBs, National Tourism and Sporting Bodies in Ireland and NI, IAAT, etc.;

- Bringing a focus on Blueways Events and Education that focus on participation in active water sports;

- Working in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism NI, Sport Ireland and Sport NI to support quality and consistency of Blueway development across the island of Ireland through independent accreditation system; 

- Developing an approach towards assessing and quantifying the return on investment for Blueway development, in terms of not only visitor numbers but also health and well-being impacts.

Also read: Shannon Erne waterway closures over the festive period