More than €347,000 in funding has been allocated for the development of an astro turf pitch in Letterfrack and the development of a sustainable garden at St Brigit’s Garden in Rossachill.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan recently gave sanction to Forum Connemara to approve funding of up to €171,345 to Diamond Hill Housing Association for the development of an all weather astro turf pitch in Letterfrack, and funding of up to €175,676.47 to Brigit’s Garden for the further development of a sustainable garden inspired by Celtic folklore in Rosscahill.
The funding for the astro turf pitch is provided under the Basic Services for the Economy and Rural Population measure of the Rural Development Programme (RDP ) 2007-2013. It will provide the necessary financial support to allow the development of an all weather sports facility in Letterfrack which will be used for training by schools, groups, and clubs in the community as well as students of the Furniture College. It is also proposed that the facility will be floodlit allowing for its use in all weather conditions and during the hours of darkness.
The funding to be received by St Brigit’s Garden is provided under the Encouragement of Tourism Activity measure of the RDP 2007-2013. It will be used to expand this innovative tourist business and the project will comprise four formal gardens fashioned on the Celtic seasons of Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine, and Lughnasa, as well as areas of woodland, wild meadow, and other natural habitats.
Speaking at the announcement Minister Hogan said of the Letterfrack funding: “The provision of leisure and sports facilities in rural communities is a very important aspect of the Rural Development Programme. Such facilities not only support social cohesion but also promote healthier lifestyles by facilitating exercise at all times of the year and in all weather conditions. The improvement in the quality of life that such facilities support is one of the main objectives of the RDP and as such should be supported and encouraged in rural communities throughout Ireland.”
Regarding the funding for St Brigit’s Garden, Minister Hogan said that this interesting and innovative project is not only a “significant tourist attraction in the Connemara area” and a provider of “employement for 7.5 fulltime equivalent positions” but is also “an important education, heritage, and community resource”. Minister Hogan added: “The financial support provided by the RDP will allow for further development that will increase the employment potential of the business as well as enhancing the visitor experience and improving the sustainability and viability of the business going forward. This kind of entrepreneurial spirit is critical for the future development of enterprise ideas in Ireland using the vast natural resources available particularly in rural areas and I encourage anyone with an innovative enterprise idea to contact the Local Development Company in their areas