News 2020


Title:  Importance of physical activity recognised in new Programme for Government
Date:  17/06/2020

Importance of physical activity recognised in new Programme for Government

Mountaineering Ireland extends its thanks to party leaders, Michéal Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan, and their respective negotiating teams, on agreeing a new Programme for Government.

There is much to welcome in the new programme – not least its emphasis on delivering a better quality of life for all our people, and how sport and physical activity is integral to this.

The commitment to develop a new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is especially welcome as Mountaineering Ireland had been in contact with all three of the party leaders seeking for this to be included. This new strategy should help manage the growing participation in outdoor recreation, in a way that provides quality outdoor recreation experiences, protects fragile environments and creates opportunities for rural communities and landowners to benefit from this activity.

While work on a National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is about to commence through Comhairle na Tuaithe, inclusion in the Programme for Government will add impetus to this key project.

Other actions of interest to hillwalkers and climbers include consultation on the development of a continuous walking route from Malin Head to Kinsale, and investment in recreational trails for the benefit of local communities as well as visitors.

Implementation of the natural heritage and biodiversity actions in the programme will also contribute towards the quality of people’s outdoor recreation experiences, as well as protecting the natural resources that we all depend upon. The programme recognises the role that landowners can play in improving water quality, carbon sequestration and biodiversity, as well as the merit of rewarding farmers through results-based payments. Pilot projects currently underway in a number of upland areas indicate that with appropriate policy changes, farmers could have a valuable role in improving the ability of Ireland’s uplands to deliver these vital ecological services.

Commenting on the new Programme for Government, titled Our Shared Future, Mountaineering Ireland CEO Murrough McDonagh said the programme aligns in many ways with Mountaineering Ireland’s objectives – in relation to improving opportunities for people to be active in the outdoors, while also respecting and protecting our natural environment. Murrough went on to say ‘Our thanks must be noted to Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party for putting together this programme for government, having lobbied for quite some time to achieve inclusion of a National Outdoor Recreation Strategy and focus on outdoor activities, it’s very welcome news. We recognise that this is an ambitious programme, nonetheless we look forward to working with the new Government to ensure that we achieve the potential of hillwalking and climbing to contribute to quality of life and to economic recovery.’

Members of all three parties are to vote on acceptance of the new Programme for Government in the coming days.

The new Programme for Government is available here -



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