Fota Wildlife Park has been allocated €200,000 to construct a new visitor attraction and conservation centre.
The new resources, announced today by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, are being sanctioned by the Minister to the South and East Area Development group (SECAD) who will approve the funding.
"With an estimated total project cost of €627,000, this is a significant investment for Fota Wildlife Park, which is already a major tourist attraction," said Mr Hogan.
"This investment will make the Park more of an 'all weather’ attraction and assist with extending the visitor season into the winter months. This will in turn benefit hotels and other tourism and leisure facilities in the area."
Funding is being provided under the Encouragement of Tourism Activities measure of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, and will aid Fota Wildlife Park's conservation work.
The funding will also create additional learning opportunities for visitors and provide an indoor viewing and entertainment area for visitors to the Park. Unlike the existing unique open nature of the Wildlife Park, this proposed facility will provide the public with access to a series of additional indoor areas and is expected to aid the growth of visitor numbers outside the peak tourist summer season.
"With a budget of €96 million for 2012, it is critically important that communities continue to come up with ideas that will reinvigorate their localities and avail of the resources available to develop all aspects of their communities into the future."
Mr Hogan highlighted that the project will now go to the board of SECAD for final approval, in line with the "bottom-up approach to rural development."