Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has welcomed a commitment from DAERA Minister Edwin Poots to invest in walking trails and a joint bid with the Irish government to PEACE PLUS (2021-27) for the strategic development of walking trails.
The West Tyrone said:
“During the COVID lockdown there has been an increase in people exploring trails and paths that they never used before.
“I wrote to Minister Poots recently suggesting that DAERA, in conjunction with other partners should build upon that legacy and incentivise local communities through a grants scheme to reclaim and replenish local walking routes and create more paths, links and trails in local areas.
“The value of such investment would be huge in terms of improving people’s physical and mental health and reducing the isolation of being confined to home due to COVID and/or no suitable walking opportunities in the locality.
“I welcome the response from the Minister that he is keen to promote outdoor activity and walking.
“The Minister stated that department officials are working closely with colleagues in the Department of Rural and Community Development in the south to develop a walking programme proposal for support from the proposed PEACE PLUS funds (2021-27).
“I welcome this commitment from the Minister to develop local walking trails to assist people improve their physical and mental health and develop a stronger appreciation of their local area.”