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Written Answers. - Visitor Facilities.

Wednesday, 12 June 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 466 No. 7

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 52. Mr. Callely Information on Ivor Callely Zoom on Ivor Callely  asked the Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  if he will give a breakdown of the location and total money spent in each area under the £2.3 millions provision for improvement of visitors' facilities at nature reserves and conservation sites across the country from the Operational Programme for Tourism, 1994 to 1999. [12082/96]

Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht (Mr. M. Higgins): Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins As I indicated to the Deputy in my reply to his parliamentary questions on 8 May last, the allocation of £2.3 million is intended to provide improved or in some cases [1875] new facilities for visitors at sites managed for nature conservation by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). These facilities will range from the provision of information signs and interpretative panels to the improvement of, or in some cases the provision of new visitor facilities such as nature trails, car parking areas and toilets.

Expenditure to date amounts to some £10,000 which related to the design and manufacture of a series of sample signs and interpretative panels. Proposals for the remainder of this year involve the manufacture and supply of a series of general signs for all nature reserves and conservation sites managed by the NPWS and the supply of interpretative panels for sites in Counties Donegal and Sligo. The combined estimated costs of these two contracts is £80,000. The provision of interpretative panels for the other selected NPWS sites will be dealt with on a phased basis over the following three years and will cost in the region of £0.5 million.

Proposals for the improvement and/or provision of other visitor facilities are being formulated at present. Initially, these proposals will concentrate on improving facilities available to visitors at existing centres. A number of existing centres, such as those of Wexford Wildfowl Reserve, Coole-Garryland Nature Reserve, County Galway, and Glendalough Woods Nature Reserve, County Wicklow, have been identified as requiring further improvements to cater adequately for visitors' requirements. The provision of facilities such as car parking areas and paths/trails can also be provided at some sites without impacting adversely on their nature conservation value. I hope to finalise these proposals later this year. Work will be carried out on a phased basis up to 1999.

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