Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Rural and Community Development

CLÁR Programme

Photo of Joe CareyJoe Carey (Clare, Fine Gael)
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31. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the CLÁR programme; the impact of the programme in rural areas such as County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43813/19]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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CLÁR is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation. The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010.  I re-opened the programme in 2016 and, since then, over 1,400 projects have been approved for CLÁR funding of almost €33 million, including more than €1.5 million for 61 projects in County Clare. 

I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on 28th February for projects under the following measures: 

Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures

Measure 2: Play Areas 

Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Support

3a First Response Support

3b Mobility and Cancer Care Transport

3c Sensory Gardens.

Over 490 applications were received and I have announced 179 successful projects across the 3 Measures, to the value of €5.9 million this year. 

The CLÁR programme makes a significant contribution to the rural communities it serves. A modest investment under the CLÁR programme, such as for the provision of a play area or specialist sensory garden, can have a significant impact on a community, by providing a safe location for children, including those with special needs, to play and for their parents to meet.  

The programme is also helping to make rural schools safer for our children and their parents by funding footpaths and traffic calming measures in the vicinity of those schools.

The CLÁR programme has also supported voluntary first-response organisations who provide an excellent and vital service in many rural areas, often under very difficult circumstances. It has funded vehicles for organisations who provide transport for service users in rural areas under the Mobility and Cancer Care Measure. This is a vital resource for all those who avail of it.  

Overall, I am very pleased with the impact which CLÁR funding is having in rural areas.  I regularly see the good projects for which the funding has been used in my engagement with communities around the country.


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