2019 CLÁR Programme to contain new measures which will greatly benefit rural communities – Minister Ring

Published 28 February 2019

Michael Ring TD, The Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (Thursday, 28 February) announced details of the CLÁR programme for 2019 which includes new measures to support rural communities. CLÁR provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered significant levels of population decline. The programme is part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration Programme.

The measures being funded under the 2019 CLÁR programme are:

Measure 1:       Support for Schools/Community Safety measures
Measure 2:      Play Areas (including Multi-Use Games Areas)
Measure 3:      Community Wellbeing Supports (new in 2019), comprising:

  • First Response Support
  • Mobility and Cancer Care Transport
  • Sensory Gardens

Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to announce the opening of the CLÁR programme for 2019 which contains exciting new measures. I will be inviting Local Authorities and other groups to submit proposals to my Department for consideration.”

The Minister continued: “2019 will see the creation of a “Community Wellbeing Support” measure which will encompass the assistance given in previous years for voluntary first-response organisations; and for mobility and cancer care supports.

“This year’s programme will also, for the first time, provide funding for the development of specialist sensory gardens and complementary play equipment. These gardens are designed to stimulate the senses and can be of particular benefit in enhancing the quality of life for people with a diverse range of life challenges.

“I am also making funding available again this year for initiatives to improve safety near schools including traffic calming measures; and for playgrounds, play areas, (including Multi-Use Games Areas) and other community facilities. By supporting these investments CLÁR is helping to improve the quality of life in rural communities for families with young children.

“I urge Local Authorities and communities to work together to bring forward proposals for consideration for the 2019 CLÁR programme. The deadline for applications is 25th April 2019.

“Since I re-introduced the CLÁR programme in 2016, it has supported over 1,270 projects in rural communities, with funding of almost €27 million. Having visited many projects supported by CLÁR throughout the country it never fails to impress me how much can be achieved with relatively modest investments through this programme.

“The key to the success of CLÁR is that most of the initiatives supported are driven by local communities in cooperation with their Local Authorities. It is a great example of what can be achieved when everyone works together for the good of the community.”

Minister Ring added: “The measures which I am announcing today, taken together, will make living in rural areas safer and even more attractive for people of all ages. Rural communities themselves will be key partners in the provision of these facilities, but I am delighted that the CLÁR programme will enable these groups to put new and enhanced facilities in place in their communities.”

In conclusion, Minister Ring said: “One of the strategic objectives of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy is to strengthen rural economies and communities.  The CLÁR programme is a key enabler in supporting rural communities and is an important part of the Government’s integrated strategy for rural development. That strategy is also being supported through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which will provide an additional €1 billion for rural development through my Department up to 2027.”

Full details of the CLÁR programme will be issued to the Local Authorities and other relevant organisations in the coming days.

ENDS

Notes to editor:

Background

The CLÁR programme (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais) is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation.  The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010. The scheme was re-opened by Minister Michael Ring in 2016 to support the development of remote rural areas through small-scale capital projects involving collaboration between Local Authorities and communities. The CLÁR programme has supported 1,270 projects since 2016, with funding of almost €27 million.

Areas targeted under the CLÁR Programme are parts of counties: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow and all of County Leitrim. A map of CLÁR areas is provided below.

2019 Measures

The programme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is delivered, for the most part, by the Local Authorities in consultation with local communities.

Up to 15 applications in total will be invited from relevant Local Authorities in respect of Measures 1 and 2.

Measures 3a and 3b will mainly be operated directly by the Department and will be open to established organisations/groups that operate entirely on a voluntary basis, and who are involved in (a) emergency rescue/first response efforts or (b) in the provision of transport services, free of charge, to people requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles to access day care or other medical therapy or respite services and/or those requiring transport to/from hospitals for treatment under the National Cancer Care Programme.

Measure 3c will be operated by Local Authorities as lead partners, in cooperation with voluntary groups involved in the provision of services for people with disabilities.

Full details of the scheme will be issued to the Local Authorities and other relevant organisations shortly.

Map of CLÁR areas