Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
82. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development her plans to develop and diversify the CLÁR programme in 2021 which focuses on the areas of highest population decrease since 1926; the measures approved under the CLÁR programme in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43080/20]
The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population. The Measures funded through the 2020 programme placed a focus on helping communities and voluntary groups in CLÁR areas to adjust to the challenges presented by COVID-19. The Measures included in the programme were as follows:
Measure1:Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures (including COVID-19 related safety works)
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,
I have approved funding of almost €5.8 million for 186 projects under these Measures.
A full review of the CLÁR programme has been initiated by my Department with the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) at Maynooth University. This review is examining the most recent changes in population patterns throughout the country on the basis of 2016 Census data. It is also considering whether any factors other than depopulation should be taken into account in determining CLÁR areas in the future.
Any potential changes to the current CLÁR areas will be informed by the findings of this review. I expect the review to be fully completed in 2021.