Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
61. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the reason larger counties with larger CLÁR areas are limited to making the same number of CLÁR applications as much smaller counties with smaller CLÁR areas; if an imbalance against CLÁR area residents in the larger counties is recognised; her plans to review the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43920/20]
The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population. The Measures being funded through this year's programme are:
Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures
Measure 2: Community Recreation Areas (new for 2020)
Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Support
(a) Meals on Wheels and linked services (new in 2020)
(b) Mobility and Cancer Care Transport,
Under Measures 1 and 2, Local Authorities were permitted to submit up to 10 applications between both Measures. Under Measure 3a and 3b, community groups were invited to submit applications directly to the Department, and there was no limit placed on the number of these applications.
While each Local Authority was permitted to submit the same number of applications under Measures 1 and 2, the number of projects approved in each county this year was decided by reference to the proportion of the CLÁR area within each county. This approach was taken to ensure that counties with a proportionally larger CLÁR area relative to the overall size of the county received greater assistance under the programme.
The methodology this year is similar to the allocation model used under the scheme in 2019. Counties with eligible CLÁR areas were divided into 4 categories - small, medium, large and very large. These categories refer to the proportion of the designated CLÁR area within a county, rather than the overall size of the county. The number of applications approved was then decided based on this categorisation.
I believe this is a balanced approach to the distribution of CLÁR funding; it prioritises those counties with proportionally the largest CLÁR areas, in line with the purpose of the scheme.