Laois/Offaly TD and Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flangan has said that the inclusion of Binninea Walk in the expanded Walks Scheme will be a real boost for Laois tourism.
The walk, which is in Cullohill and also known as the Cullohill Mountain loop, is to be listed on the Walks Scheme alongside the Gathabawn Walk down near Kilkenny.
Minister Flanagan said: “The inclusion of Binninea Walk in the first phase of the expanded Walks Scheme is good news for local land owners and hikers, and will be a real boost to tourism in our area.
“The Walks Scheme currently covers 39 trails, involving 1,962 participant landowners and farmers and it is operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
“My colleague Minister Michael Ring confirmed to me that the expansion of the Walks Scheme to 10 extra walks will include Binninea Walk in County Laois.
“This expansion reflects the success of the scheme to date in delivering high quality walking trails, and follows the Government’s commitment to double the number of trails in the scheme over time.
“Up to 40 new trails will be added when all phases of the expansion are complete.
“The walk covers 4km and includes 10 land owners
“The Scheme contracts the landowners and farmers, or their nominees, to undertake maintenance work on sections of National Waymarked Ways and other priority walks that traverse their lands. The Scheme is administered at a local level by Local Development Companies.
“Walking tourism has huge potential and can deliver real dividends to local hotels, BBs, restaurants, pubs and shops.
“Last year alone, almost 2.7 million overseas visitors to Ireland engaged in some form of cross-country walking or hiking. One in four of people doing a ‘staycation’ here in Ireland included walking or hiking as part of their holiday.
“The inclusion of Binninea Walk in this scheme is great news for local tourism and economic development.”