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€200,000 funding for Lough Derg Blueway initiative

Date issued: 10/01/17

The Department Of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs has allocated €200,000 under the Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) initiative for the marketing, development and promotion of The Lough Derg Blueway, which includes the soon to be completed Lough Derg Canoe Trail.

Managed by a Steering Committee comprising the Lough Derg Marketing Group, Clare County Council, Tipperary County Council and Waterways Ireland, the project aims to build on the existing tourism and recreational infrastructure as well as improve economic activity surrounding the Blueway on Lough Derg by working with communities in the towns and villages in its hinterland.

Councillor Bill Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council noted the valuable opportunities presented by the Blueway for the rural communities to attract more visitors.

"There are approximately 70,000 visitors to the Lough Derg region on an annual basis, worth over €10 million to the local economy," he said. “The recent success of the Mayo Greenway and the Shannon Erne Blueway has highlighted the potential for new enterprises to emerge in rural towns and villages as a result of such experiential tourism offerings. The completion of the Lough Derg Canoe Trail early next year will provide evidence of the economic benefits that can accrue from such a development for the towns and villages.”

Welcoming the funding allocation, Leonard Cleary, Director of Services, Rural Development, Clare County Council explained that the REDZ initiative is about community participation, boosting employment, tackling rural isolation and helping communities to identify the issues and also the solutions.

"The concept of a REDZ involves local authorities from neighbouring counties coming together to support communities in availing of opportunities to help themselves and their local areas. It is the essence of what a community led approach to rural development is all about. Clare County Council and its partner agencies looks forward to engaging with the local business, community and voluntary sectors in the Scarriff and Nenagh REDZ areas during the coming months to deliver on the opportunities presented by the Lough Derg Blueway," he added.

Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Economic Development, Clare County Council, said the project will result in a high quality product that will increase tourism to the local towns and villages located close to the western and eastern shores of Lough Derg.

He explained, "The value of the Blueways lies not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer but also in their potential to stimulate local business and regenerate local areas. We will be engaging with businesses and communities throughout the Scarriff and Nenagh REDZ areas while the Blueway’s network of walking, cycling, heritage, food and canoe trails will be marketed and promoted as a signature experience on Lough Derg. It is intended that the initiative will deliver one of the key objectives of the 'Roadmap for Experience Development and Destination Marketing 2014-2017' for Lough Derg."

Meanwhile, the proposed Lough Derg Canoe Trail, which is scheduled for completion in January 2017, will see canoe facilities and services blocks installed in Killaloe, Ballycuggeran, and Scarriff, Mountshannon and Dromaan harbours. The Trail project is an initiative of the Lough Derg Marketing Group and is being funded under the Lough Derg Stimulus Fund. Waterways Ireland is leading the design and development of the project in partnership with Clare County Council, Galway County Council and Tipperary County Council.

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Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 10/01/17