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Clare’s absence from a €1.2m scheme for recreation facilities and outdoor tourism in forest parks and Coillte sites has been flagged by one of the county’s four TDs.

Deputy Michael McNamara (IND) has called on the Department of Rural and Community Development to publish the criteria for a newly announced funding scheme to support recreation facilities and outdoor tourism in forest parks and other Coillte sites.

On Friday, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys (FG) announced €1.2 million in funding to support recreation facilities and outdoor tourism in forest parks and other Coillte sites. The investment includes the upgrades of pathways, trails, access roads, boardwalks, carparks and toilet facilities at 33 Coillte sites nationwide.

Co Clare does not feature among the 16 different counties, Galway, Kerry and Limerick have sites that will benefit under the scheme.

In a statement to The Clare Echo, Deputy McNamara outlined that Minister Humphreys, who should publish the awarding criteria given that Clare is the 7th most afforested county in Ireland.

“Given that Clare is one of the most afforested counties in Ireland, both in terms of the size of area under forestry and the proportion of the County that is afforested, it is deeply disappointing that it is not receiving funding under this scheme,” the Scariff TD explained.

He added, “Community groups and voluntary organisations, along with Clare County Council and others, have developed and maintained many woodland walks and trails throughout the county in recent years. I would have thought that sites such as Cratloe Woods, Moylussa, Ard Aoibhinn, Knocknageeha in Killanena, Dromore, Ballybeg, Lees Road and Mount Callan, amongst others, between them offered scope for development. The exclusion of any County Clare site from this funding announcement, therefore, requires explanation”.

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