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Minister of State Connick opens Enhanced Forest Recreational Facilities at Belleek Forest, Co. Mayo

Seán Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with responsibility for forestry, today opened enhanced forest recreational facilities at Belleek Wood, Ballina, Co Mayo, which were developed under the NeighbourWood Scheme operated by his Department.

He warmly congratulated Coillte for developing the facilities, in partnership with the Belleek Enhancement Committee and Mayo County Council, at the Forest including a wheelchair friendly route which stretches along the main walking path of this wonderful local amenity at Belleek Forest.

Minister of State Connick commented "This project was approved for funding under the NeighbourWood Scheme administered by my Department.  This scheme is aimed at promoting the development, through local partnerships, of attractive 'close-to-home' woodlands for public use and enjoyment.  The Belleek Enhancement Committee is a perfect example of the concept of 'development through local partnerships' as I understand that it works to ensure that Belleek Woods meets the recreation needs of the wider local community".  Referring to the development of the wheelchair accessible walk, he added, "In this, the 50th year of the Irish Wheelchair Association, today's opening of a completely wheelchair accessible forest walk here in Belleek Wood is a fitting way to celebrate it."

The Minister of State also noted the measures taken in Belleek Wood to halt the decline in the native red squirrel population, such as the preservation of red squirrel habitats and the diversity of trees in Belleek thus providing a nature reserve for the red squirrel.

Date Released: 26 November 2010