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County Wicklow Public Participation Network

Welcome to the Facebook Page of County Wicklow Public Participation Network – “The Voice of Community & Voluntary Groups in County Wicklow”. County Wicklow PPN is a non-party political and non-sectarian representative organisation that acts as a voice for all community and voluntary organisations in County Wicklow. The PPN’s purpose is to provide an inclusive and independent structure that enables community consultation and participation in policy and decision making so as to improve the quality of life and opportunities for people in the county.
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
It’s a nice morning. If you live in Greystones and have time to spare, why not pop out and help Greystones Tidy Towns
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
Lacken Mass Path and the Jubilee Loop in Co Wicklow to be added to Irelands National Walks Scheme

Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces largest ever expansion of Ireland’s National Walks Scheme

• 62 new way-marked walking and hiking trails added across 17 Counties
• Total number of nationally recognised trails now stands at over 140, up from just 40 trails in 2019
• Department to work with landowners to provide access and create world class walking and hiking amenities
• Expression of Interest for further new trails opens
• Minister: “I want to make Ireland an international destination for walking & hiking”

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (28th February 2024) announced the largest ever expansion of Ireland’s National Walks Scheme with 62 new trails announced across 17 counties.

Today’s announcement includes 5 trails on two offshore islands – Inis Meáin and Oileán Chléire. Also for the first time, National Walks Scheme trails will now be located in Counties Monaghan and Wexford.

This is part of a phased expansion that will see the number of trails on the Walks Scheme increase from 80 to 150 over the next two years. The initiative is designed to boost outdoor recreation and rural tourism and is a key element of Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors, the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy.

Under the Walks Scheme, funding is provided to farmers and other landholders to maintain the walking trails that go through their holdings. The Scheme is operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development in conjunction with Local Development Companies.

Among the new Walks Scheme trails being announced today are:
• Lúb Dún Fearbhaí, Inis Meáin, Co. na Gaillimhe
• Carrigmeal Woodland Loops, Co Laois
• Strickeen Mountain Walk, Co Kerry
• Cullentra Trail, Co Wexford
• The Devils Chimney, Co Sligo
• Ardmore Cliff Walk, Co Waterford
• Six Fastnet Trails, Co Cork
• The Monaghan Way, Co Monaghan

Over €15 million has been paid to farmers and landholders participating on the Scheme since 2017, with an additional €1.4 million spent on materials for the maintenance of trails. This expansion will see an additional annual investment of over €500,000 to rural areas through the scheme.

Announcing the expansion at the Carrigmeal Woods Loop Trails in Co Laois, Minister Humphreys said:

“I want to make Ireland an international destination of choice for walkers and hikers. We have a unique offering in terms of our natural landscape filled with mountains, forests, lakes, rivers and sea.

“Often these amenities can only be truly appreciated by crossing through fields and land owned by local farmers. The National Walks Scheme is about working in partnership with landowners so we can open up access to local communities and tourists to enjoy these wonderful hidden gems we have all across Ireland.

“I want to acknowledge and thank the work of all the farmers and landowners involved in the Walks Scheme who provide access to their holdings and who help to maintain the trails to a high standard for the benefit of a huge number of locals and visitors. Without the goodwill of farmers we would not have access to many of our favourite tracks and trails. It is incumbent on all of us to use these amenities responsibly, respect local landowners and of course – Leave No Trace.”

“Getting out into the fresh air for a walk is good for the body and good for the mind. These trails allow people of all ages and ability the opportunity to enjoy open countryside, riverside walks and mountains hikes. There is something for everyone, just put on your walking shoes and get out there and have a go.”

The Department is now inviting expressions of interest from LDCs for new trails and substantial extensions to existing trails. Potential applicants (e.g. trail management committees, community groups, local authorities, and other similar entities) should be advised that expressions of interest must be made through LDCs in respect of trails that are eligible for inclusion in the scheme. The closing date for EOIs is 11th October 2024.

The Minister concluded:

“Due to the phenomenal response to this expansion, I am formally launching a further call for expressions of interest to join the Walks Scheme.

“I would encourage trail management committees, community groups and other similar bodies to contact their nearest Local Development Company to make an expression of interest for trails they would like to include in the scheme.”

The expansion of the Walks Scheme was also warmly welcomed by Dr. Liam Twomey, the Chairperson of Comhairle na Tuaithe which is representative of the key stakeholders involved in outdoor recreation in the countryside.

Dr. Twomey said:

“I very much welcome the addition of these trails to the Walks Scheme. Comhairle Na Tuaithe has been involved in the sustainable development of the sector since 2004. Following the launch of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy, and the strategic development coming from that, the continuing growth of the Walks Scheme is so beneficial, both from an economic and wellbeing point of view.

Photograph: One of the new trails being added to the Walks Scheme is Bóthar Na Naomh Walking Trail in Cloone, Co Leitrim. Pictured with Minister Humphreys at the trail are local walkers Lily Mitchell (left) and Collette Charles (right). Credit: Brian Duignan
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
Public hearings of the Seanad Public Consultation Committee on the Future of Local Democracy

The second public hearing of the Committee will be taking place today Thursday 29th February 2024.

The Committee is conducting this public hearing over two sessions, which will be structured as follows:

Morning Session (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
• Former Ministers and Ministers of State with responsibility for Local Government

Afternoon Session (1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
• Cathaoirligh, Leas-Chathaoirligh and Members of Local Authorities from counties in the Ireland South European Parliament Constituency.

If you are interested in following the proceedings, the meeting will be conducted in public session and will be live streamed on the Oireachtas website.

The meeting will also be transcribed by the Oireachtas Debates Office. The unrevised version of Committee debates are published on the Oireachtas website, normally within a week of the meeting taking place.

Links to the video, the debate transcripts and further information about the Committee can be found here:
https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/committees/33/seanad-public-consultation-committee/

You can read the Wicklow PPN Submission to the Seanad Public Consultation Committee here:

https://countywicklowppn.ie/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/The-Seanad-Public-Consultation-Committe-on-The-Future-of-Local-Democracy.pdf
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
Another idea to help us do our bit for our planet from Go Greener with Grangecon
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
County Wicklow Public Participation Network
The next meeting of Wicklow County Council takes place on Monday 4th March at 2pm in county buildings.

Agenda items include: Disposal of Property, The Chief Executive’s Report, Wicklow County Council Joint Policing Committee End of Year Report, The issue of polling information cards, Irish Farmers Association Presentation, and Healthy Ireland Age Friendly Homes Initiative Presentation.