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05 Oct 2022

Calls for 'better equestrian infrastructure' in Offaly

Calls for 'better equestrian infrastructure' in Offaly

Cllr Mark Hackett

At Monday’s meeting of Offaly County Council Cllr Mark Hackett brought forward a motion on horse riding trails for the county. He asked that the Council consider the provision of better equestrian infrastructure to support the establishment of safe riding areas and riding trails across Offaly. 

Cllr Hackett’s thanked the many Councillors who supported his motion that the Council identifies lands that may be suitable for horse riding trails across the county. He also thanked Stephane Duclot, Director of Services, for agreeing to work with him on progressing these trails.

Cllr Hackett explains the motivation behind the motion “Demand for safe, off-road horse riding trails  continues to grow. The volume and speed of traffic on roads presents safety risks for horse riders and the development of clearly signed horse trails will encourage and enable more people to be more active and to get out and enjoy Offaly’s beautiful countryside on horseback, with associated wellbeing benefits for locals and as an attraction for equestrian enthusiasts to the county.”

The motion also asked that the Council explores how other jurisdictions embrace horse riding into their leisure and tourism activities.

Referencing a land use webinar that his wife, Minister Pippa Hackett hosted in the summer, Mark Hackett said "it was obvious from the huge interest in that event that members of the public, communities and organisations want access to outdoor recreation activities and horse trails came up as one of the activities.

"The webinar focused on land which belongs to Bord na Mona and Coillte. It came across that both of those bodies, together with Failte Ireland and Offaly LEO are eager to support the right projects and work in collaboration with the Local Authority. My motion ensures that horse riding and equestrian activities are included for serious consideration by the Local Authority and I believe that Offaly can lead the way on this.”

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