€200,000 funding under the Rural Development Programme sanctioned to support a unique Ecotourism project in Co Galway

Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government announced today ( 5  December, 2011) that he has given sanction to Galway Rural Development Co Ltd to approve funding of up to €200,000.00 to the Slieve Aughty Centre, Loughrea, Co Galway.

This funding, provided under the Tourism measure of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 will provide the necessary financial support to allow Esther Zyderlaan, T/A the Slieve Aughty Centre to complete an accommodation unit, which will enable the centre to expand its  ecotourism facility in Co Galway. This facility offers a sustainable tourism amenity that aims to work in harmony with the local environment while simultaneously offering a unique eco friendly option for home visitors and tourists alike.   

Announcing the funding Minister Hogan said:

“This project represents a way forward for rural tourism in Ireland by combining the need to provide interesting and healthy activity options with the need to ensure that such activities are environmentally conscious. The project will not only provide direct support to the project promoter as a local entreprenuer but  will also be of immense benefit to both local communities and visitors to the region. Tourism activities generate income in rural communities that would otherwise not be earned, indeed tourism is one of the most effective ways of redistributing wealth having significant  potential to move money into ‘local’ economies from other parts of the country and overseas. I have no doubt that this project will act as a focal point in Loughrea attracting visitors to the region and supporting the development of rural tourism in in the County as a whole”.

The LEADER elements of the Programme offer many challenges and opportunities in terms of addressing the needs of improving the quality of life in rural areas and providing greater opportunities. It is focused on the development of micro-enterprises, rural services, rural recreation and rural tourism. It is hoped that, by focusing on these services, the Programme will lead to sustainable development, which in turn will ensure prosperity for the rural areas.

The Minister added, “this project will now go back to the Board of Galway Rural Development Ltd for the final approval. This is in line with the EU’s “bottom-up” approach to rural development

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