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Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, has welcomed confirmation that total funding of €356,876 has been allocated to two outdoor recreation projects in Cork East constituency.

Harper’s Island Wetland Centre in Glounthaune has been allocated €156,876 for the development of a new nature trail walking path and viewing hide. A grant of €200,000 has been awarded to the Mallow Castle Walkway for the development of a walkway and cycleway on the grounds of Mallow Castle.

Funding is being made available by the Department of Rural and Community Development under measure 2 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) 2018. Measure 2 has a maximum allocation of €200,000 for the repair, upgrade and development of small to medium outdoor infrastructure projects such as walking trails, greenways and other recreational amenities.

A total of 78 measure 2 projects to the value of €10.87 million have been approved nationwide by the Department as part of the 2018 scheme. Total investment under the 2018 ORIS will amount to €20.8 million, with the exchequer funding €17.8 million and Fáilte Ireland the remainder. As a result almost 600 projects nationwide will have received funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure since 2016.

Speaking upon confirmation of the measure 2 funding, Minister Stanton said “Recreational tourism is a growing part of Ireland’s tourism offering and today’s funding announcement is fantastic news for the further development of two very important projects in Cork East.

“According to Fáilte Ireland figures, 26% of all overseas tourists engaged in some level of hiking or cross-country walking in 2017. This equates to 2.3 million tourists, spending an estimated €1.3 billion during their stay in Ireland while a further 451,000 overseas tourists took part in cycling activities.

“The funding granted to Harper’s Island Wetland Centre will build upon the great work of Glounthaune Tidy Towns, Birdwatch Ireland and Cork County Council in developing such an important national nature conservation project and carries on from last year’s successful opening of the centre’s bird hide.

“The allocation of the maximum available measure 2 grant to the Mallow Castle Walkway will ensure the development of an excellent amenity for the town, one which I am certain will only serve to further encourage recreational tourism in the area”, concluded Minister Stanton.