Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
1097. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the CLÁR scheme throughout the country; if a cohort of rural schools excluded from the scheme can be included to avail of funding for safety measures at their schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2881/20]
CLÁR is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation, based on Census of Population data.
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. The programme has supported a range of measures in eligible CLÁR areas, including supports for safety measures in and around schools and other community facilities.
While funding can only be provided to projects in designated CLÁR areas, it is open to Local Authorities and schools themselves which are not in designated CLÁR areas to implement similar measures, in conjunction with the National Roads Authority (NRA) and/or the Department of Education and Skills where approptiate, and subject to any considerations that may be required from the point of view of budgets, etc.
A full review of the CLÁR programme has been initiated by my Department which will examine the most recent changes in population patterns throughout the country on the basis of 2016 Census data. The review will also consider whether any factors other than depopulation should be taken into account in determining CLÁR areas in the future.
Details of all projects which have been approved for funding to date under CLÁR are available on the Gov.ie website at https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/91ba52-clar/.