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There was much jubilitation at the weekend as Minister Heather Humphreys made a special visit to Knockdoemore Lackagh trail. the visit which was organised by Galway County Council gave an opportunity for the Local Authority to showcase some of their leading projects around the county.

During her two day visit the Minister visited council projects on Inisheer, and several in Connemara that included Carraroe, An Spideal and Furbo. Athenry Bia innovator Campus was on the list ahead of the Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail on Saturday morning.

The Knockdoemore Lackagh trail was funded under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme following an application by Galway Co Council on behalf of local community group Caírde Mor, a project that was initiated by local landowner Frank Kearney.

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is under the brief of the Minister for Rural and Community Development which Minister Humphreys now holds, but the funding came through the department when Minister Michael Ring and Minister of State Sean Canney were in office and ensured that the funding came through on the project.

The Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail is one of the most successful projects undertaken by Galway Co Council under ORIS. The trail is the first of its kind in this area which was a joint project involving different communities and one of the most used facilities around.

Minister Humphreys who along with being Minister for Rural and Community Development is also Minister for Social Protection and is currently Interim Minister for Justice, was high in praise of the Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail. Combining two parishes as well as linking in with other community facilities is an example of what can be done when leadership is provided by communities, she said.

Minister Humphreys added that the project shows that communities and local landowners working together can provide much needed additions to people in rural communities and complimented all involved in bringing the project to fruition.

The Minister also expressed good wishes to local athlete Cillin Greene who was participating in the Olympic Games finals later that day.

Speaking on behalf of Cairde Mor John Morrin said that this facility provided a lifeline to people particularly during the pandemic and the number of people now using it was beyond expectations.

Speaking on behalf of Claregalway GAA Club the former club chairman spoke about the early stages of development of the pitch and putting the walkway around the pitch that have now been hugely complemented by the Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail.

Frank Kearney whose initiative led to this project coming to fruition, welcomed Minister Humphreys and added that it was a tremendous honour for the community that the Minister included this project in her itinerary on her Galway visit.

He complimented Galway Co Council for their help and support in eventually getting this project over the line. Ever since the project was first mooted locally over a coffee much work had been carried out by local groups involving Cairde Mor, Claregalway GAA Club and the Kearney family and many grant applications were submitted seeking funding.

He particularly thanked Minister Humphreys’ Department of Rural and Community Development and in particular previous Ministers Michael Ring and Sean Canney. The Outdoor Recreational infrastructure Scheme is providing a new life to rural ireland and he added that while much talk is made about Greenways, schemes like this benefit local communities much greater for smaller money creating much more value for money.

The Minister has paid us a tremendous honour by coming here to the Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail and we hope that over time we will be able to extend this trail through more of our local parishes and asked the Minister to keep us in mind when we come knocking at the door for more funding.

Officials from the Department of Rural and Community Development and officials of Galway Co Council Bernie donnellan and Kieran Coyne and Cathaoirleach of galway Co Council Cllr Peter Keaveney joined Minister Humphreys. Also attending were: Minister Hildegarde Naughton; Noel Grealish TD, Sean Canney TD, Cllr. David Collins, Cllr Clodagh Higgins and Cllr Frank Fahy. It was a special day on the Knockdoemore Lackagh Trail.