By Dan Walsh
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, said she is “a huge believer in promoting adventure tourism – because we have so many wonderful lakes and rivers and waterways that have so much to offer”, when in Wexford yesterday (Thursday) at Little Sea for the turning of the sod of the Bannow Bay Estuary Blueway, near Wellingtonbridge.
Funding of €199,800 is approved under the 2021 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme Measure 2 for the 11 km blueway amenity in Bannow Bay / Corock River.
The infrastructure will provide safe access and facilities for water sports activities and encourage novices and more accomplished water sport users connect three locations: Little Sea / Bannow Estuary, Wellingtonbridge village (upstream) and Foulksmills Village (upstream).
Speaking at Little Sea, Minister Humphreys said; “I’m a huge believer in promoting adventure tourism – because we have so many wonderful lakes and rivers and waterways that have so much to offer. This project perfectly complements the recent investment in this locality which includes the development of this viewing point, the installation of the Norman Way, the Euro Velo 1 cycling trail and the Slí Charman Coastal Walking Trail.
“Spanning the full length of the Wexford coast, Slí Charman is Ireland’s longest coastal path, and it has also been supported by the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, From the world’s oldest working lighthouse at the Hook to Ireland’s longest beach at Curracloe, this trail shows just how wonderful your coastline is. So I think the term ‘spoilt for choice’ springs to mind when I visit a community like this,” concluded Minister Humphreys.
The ministerial countywide tour to Wexford began at St Aidan’s GAA Centre in Ferns, where the Minister officially opened a community gym and walking track lights. Next came the official opening of the High Hill Norman Gardens in New Ross.
At Clongeen Community Development Centre funding was provided under the 2018 and 2020 Town and Village Renewal Scheme of €200,000 in total. The €100,000 in awarded in 2018 was for the development and refurbishment of the local community hall – extension. €100,000 under the 2020 scheme was for the refurbish Community Centre to develop a remote working hub; a training facility, weekend markets; study hub and community café.
The Minister’s next stop was at Our Lady’s Island where she officially opened the Our Lady’s Island Community Project. After receiving investment from the Department of Rural and Community Development the local community centre was retrofitted. A coffee shop, new playground, outdoor gym, new footpaths and a car park were also completed as part of the works.
The Minister’s final stop was in Clonard, Wexford. Here she officially opened the brand-new High Meadows Community Hub which was developed with support from the LEADER programme. This new state-of-the-art facility will be used by the 13th Wexford Scout Group, one of the largest scouting groups in county Wexford.
Speaking about her visit to Wexford, Minister Humphreys told WexfordLocal.com; “I’ve had a great day in Wexford – opening and visiting projects in Ferns, New Ross, Clongeen, Little Sea, Our Lady’s Island and now here in Clonard in Wexford. All of these projects are being delivered as part of Our Rural Future. That’s our five-year rural development policy that is breathing new life into rural communities,” said the Minster, who concluded; “Thank you for inviting me to open all your wonderful facilities today.”