Leitrim County Council is delighted to have led out on the development of an initiative to signpost and extend the development of the Blueway in Counties Leitrim, Cavan, Roscommon and Longford under funding received from the pilot Regional Economic Development Zone (REDZ). This was one of two flagship projects funded under REDZ to the value of just under €300,000 to develop the capacity of communities and businesses along the waterways from Belturbet in Cavan through Drumshanbo and Carrick on Shannon in Leitrim onto Boyle in Roscommon and Lanesboro in Longford. The Blueway is an initiative of Waterways Ireland to maximise the potential for a range of land and water based recreational activity similar to the Greenway for cycling.
Minister Heather Humphreys, T.D. ,Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht will formally launch this initiative on Friday, June 24th at 5.30pm in the Landmark Hotel, Carrick on Shannon.
The REDZ programme came about due to the innovative partnership already in existence of the four local authorities, ESB and Bord na Mona in the USEFE (Upper Shannon Erne Future Economy ) initiative prior to the announcement of the competitive national competition for REDZ Flagship projects.
USEFE is a unique business and agency led initiative to drive economic development across the key sectors of importance in the Counties of Cavan, Leitrim, Longford and Roscommon. These sectors include tourism, food, creative, renewable energy and pharma. Depending on the sector involved USEFE works in conjunction with relevant agencies and businesses. In the case of the Blueway project, Waterways Ireland and businesses in the food, craft, tourism and heritage were the key partners to ensure the project was achieved on time and to top standard.
As a result of the REDZ funding, along with matched funding from the partners, the following has been achieved:
- Series of capacity building workshops and infrastructure audits for 22 communities in the Towns and Villages along the Blueway in the USEFE region
- National and Regional Signage of the Blueway Region
- Production of 4 Blueway Trail brochures for Food, Outdoor Activities, Arts and Crafts and Culture and Heritage
- Two capital infrastructure projects to develop and enhance facilities at two key access points.
The Blueway will continue to be developed and promoted and offers an excellent example of regional development in practice.