News 2022

Title:  Embracing Ireland's Outdoors
Date:  28/11/2022

Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors

“The appetite for getting outdoors has never been greater” Minister Heather Humphreys’ opening words resonated with all those gathered for the launch of 'Embracing Ireland's Outdoors', Ireland's new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy. The strategy was launched today by Minister Humphreys in Castlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny.

'Embracing Ireland's Outdoors' maps out an ambitious plan, with a total of 95 actions, to deliver a vision of Ireland's Outdoors as a world of activities for all. 

The mission of the strategy is:

'To lead, guide and facilitate the sustainable development and management of outdoor recreation and increased participation, in order to realise social, health and economic benefits. We will do this while respecting the custodians of land and water, caring for the environment and promoting responsible recreation.'

Mountaineering Ireland had a key role in the development of this strategy with our Access & Conservation Officer, Helen Lawless being Vice-Chair of the Strategy Working Group, working alongside Coillte's Head of Recreation, Daithi de Forge. 

At the launch, Mountaineering Ireland’s Chief Executive, Murrough McDonagh complimented Helen and Daithi on their role in the strategy development process and said how welcome it is to have a strategy focused on the development and management of outdoor activities that has been approved by Cabinet.

Unusually for a government strategy, the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is a Stakeholder-led strategy. The strategy development process was led by Comhairle na Tuaithe, the national advisory body on outdoor recreation, working closely with the Department of Rural and Community Development and Sport Ireland, with support from Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland. 

The creation of the strategy was truly collaborative with the members of Comhairle na Tuaithe and other organisations feeding into thematic sub-groups, followed by direct engagement with other government departments that have a role in the delivery of the strategy. This process was strengthened and informed by two rounds of public consultation in May 2021 and June 2022.

Implementation of ‘Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors’ will be jointly led by the Department of Rural and Community Development and Sport Ireland with oversight from Comhairle na Tuaithe. Sport Ireland’s Chief Executive, Dr Una May, spoke of the importance of outdoor activities for health and wellbeing, and how the spirit of the collaboration and partnership that underpins the strategy will have a multiplier effect in its delivery.

While the launch of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is the culmination of over two years’ work, it also marks the beginning of a structured programme of work to make outdoor recreation in Ireland work better for everyone and for our natural environment.

The impact of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy should reach every part of the country, indeed every household. This local impact will be achieved through the formation of County Outdoor Recreation Committees working alongside the Local Sports Partnerships, and through the development of an outdoor recreation plan for each county that aligns with the priorities of the national strategy. 

In the coming months Mountaineering Ireland will provide information and guidance to members who are interested in participating in this process in their own county. If you would like to be involved, please contact helen@mountaineering.ie.  

The National Outdoor Recreation Strategy is available HERE

 

 

 

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