Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population over a defined period. My Department reviews the type of initiatives to be funded under the Programme each year. I launched the 2021 programme on 15thMarch and the Measures being funded through this year's programme are:
- Measure 1 which supports School and Community Safety projects
- Measure 2 which supports Outdoor Community Recreation Facilities; and,
- Measure 3 which funds Community Wellbeing Supports. This includes funding for Community Gardens and Allotments and funding for Mobility and Cancer Care Transport vehicles.
In addition, this year I have introduced a new CLÁR Innovation Measure. This funding will be targeted at piloting new ideas which address specific challenges faced by communities in CLÁR areas, including rural isolation, population change, social disadvantage and marginalisation. The Measure provides a great opportunity for communities to identify the specific challenges they face and to come up with innovative ways to address them.
The closing date for receipt of applications has now passed and the assessment process has commenced.
My Department has also initiated a review of the designated areas under the CLÁR programme 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 and I have requested some additional analysis to be undertaken which, I understand, is nearing completion.