Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, together with Sport Ireland, yesterday launched the new national outdoor recreation strategy, “Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors”. Please find this strategy attached.
Over the next five years, Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors will shape the future of outdoor recreation in Ireland. It will provide a strong strategic focus to underpin the unprecedented investment in the sector with €1.6 billion invested over the past four years. This investment is just the start and will be built upon over the coming years, where Sport Ireland is co-leading on the implementation of this policy.
Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors will bring a cohesive and joined-up approach to the development of outdoor recreation infrastructure at both a national and county level, where Sport Ireland’s Local Sport Partnerships and National Governing Bodies for sport will play a key role in both participation opportunities and establishing partnerships.
Our Rural Future sets out a long-term vision for a vibrant and sustainable rural Ireland, transforming the quality of life and opportunities for people living in rural areas.
Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors, the new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is integral to this transformation. Significant stakeholder and public engagement has been at the core of the development of this strategy. I would like to thank the members of Comhairle na Tuaithe and its subgroups for their tireless work in developing this strategy. Thanks to the high level of stakeholder and public engagement Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is a truly collaborative strategy that will set the stage to strengthen and support the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland for years to come. This is a forward-thinking strategy that will act as a steppingstone for the future of the outdoor recreation sector and it is also a strategy that will adapt over time to meet the ever changing needs of the outdoor recreation sector.
Sport Ireland has worked diligently over the years to bring outdoor recreation to the fore in Ireland through collaboration with trail management and volunteer groups, local authorities, state agencies, outdoor National Governing bodies for Sport and our Local Sports Partnerships. This work has laid the foundation for this strategy to develop with a focus on structure, expertise and capacity that will put the sector in a strong position in five years’ time. Working closely with Comhairle na Tuaithe, the countryside council, throughout the development of this strategy, the relationships between all stakeholders have strengthened to ensure the future success of this important policy. This collaboration has spanned government departments, state landowners, farming organisations, recreation providers and National Governing Bodies, as well as two open public consultations. The actions that have emerged are approaching the challenges and opportunities in a cohesive, integrated approach. This level of collaborative working will no doubt ensure that Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors will be a strong and successful strategy for the next five years and will be a strong base to build on for the future of the outdoor recreation sector. Sport Ireland is looking forward to the implementation of the strategy, taking up our leadership role and working alongside stakeholders in the outdoor sector.