Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
16. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress to date in reviewing the CLÁR areas based on the 2016 census of population; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27984/21]
36. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the progress to date in reviewing the CLÁR areas based on the 2016 census of population; the expected date for the conclusion of the review; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27983/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 16, 36 and 39 together.
The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale projects in designated rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population over a defined period.
I launched the 2021 programme on 15th March. The closing date for receipt of applications has now passed and the assessment process has commenced.
The areas originally designated for CLÁR were selected in 2001, based on the level of population decline between 1926 and 1996. The average population loss in the original CLÁR areas over the period 1926 to 1996 was 50%.
In 2006, an analysis of the 2002 Census data was carried out and the programme was extended to include areas with an average population loss of 35% between 1926 and 2002. The current programme operates on the basis of that data.
My Department has initiated a review of the designation of CLÁR areas to examine the most recent changes in population patterns throughout the country on the basis of 2016 Census data. The review is also considering whether any factors other than depopulation should be taken into account in determining CLÁR areas in the future. Maynooth University is undertaking this analysis on behalf of my Department.
My Department has received a draft final report. Following an initial review of that Report, I have requested some additional analysis to be undertaken. I understand that this additional analysis is nearing completion and the report will be made available shortly thereafter.