The Green Party in Westmeath has welcomed the launch of a major new Shannon Tourism Masterplan which will see developments and improvements to the potential in many towns along the river.
The Shannon Tourism Masterplan is the first dedicated plan undertaken on the entire Shannon Region, setting out a bold and integrated framework for sustainable tourism development along the Shannon across 2020 – 2030.
Local Green Party Councillor, Louise Heavin, welcomed the publication of the masterplan noting the tourism importance of the River Shannon to Athlone and the Midlands region.
“This plan is hugely welcome to the area. The River Shannon and the surrounding lakes are a big asset to the Midlands which we need to care for and build sustainable infrastructure around.
“The development of these facilities will really help to put the Shannon in the centre of our recreational offering in the region,” the Deputy Town Mayor commented.
The plans for tourism enhancement within the Midlands region include the development of new waterside amenities and enabling infrastructure in three locations.
Athlone, Co. Westmeath
Improving access to the water by developing a slipway at Golden Island in Athlone to provide direct access to the River Shannon for boaters, canoeists and anglers and the development of eight new cruising berths and a canoe step at Athlone Railway Bridge.
Red Bridge (Ballymahon ), County Longford
The development of a new water-based activity hub on the River Shannon due to its proximity to Lough Ree, Ballymahon and Center Parcs including new cruiser berths and a low-level floating jetty to facilitate canoe and small boat access and egress.
Roosky, County Roscommon
The development of 10 cruiser berths in the heart of the village to provide direct access its amenities. With the exception of Athlone (which already has ancillary facilities ), all other locations will include the addition of car parking, landscaping, interpretation through waterways industrial heritage and recreational furniture (benches and picnic tables ).
At today’s launch of the Shannon Tourism Masterplan, Deputy Green Party Leader and Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, welcomed the plan to grow tourism in a sustainable manner.
“The Shannon Tourism Masterplan provides a significant and extensive framework to grow tourism in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands aligning strongly with Government’s national policy to drive rural development through tourism.
“I welcome the publication of this plan today as its successful delivery will create a haven for on-water and off-water experiences offering a range of ways to be active in nature, in a sustainable manner. By inviting the visitor to slow down, stay longer and to engage with local heritage and communities Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland and the Local Authorities will support the creation of unforgettable holiday experiences that will benefit local businesses and communities on, and surrounding, the river,” Deputy Martin enthused.
The Masterplan is a collaborative project led by Waterways Ireland with Fáilte Ireland and 10 Local Authorities along the River Shannon and Shannon-Erne Waterway.
The Masterplan has examined the potential for positioning the Shannon as a hub destination for international and domestic tourism. It identifies the scale and scope of this challenge and has identified the measures needed to develop the necessary infrastructure, products, and experiences to reposition the Shannon Region as a key tourism destination within Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
The Masterplan contains an action plan of projects that will require an estimated €76.5 million investment to deliver to realise the ambitions of the Masterplan over the ten years.
This capital expenditure will deliver on the seven priority areas in the plan and include interventions such as enhanced harbours and waterside public realms in Shannon towns; improved amenities for boat users and infrastructure for activity providers, clubs and communities to operate; a rejuvenated cruising experience along the Shannon; remote moorings and tranquillity zones along the Shannon and new recreational infrastructure including a substantial network of walking and cycling trails.