Community groups and schools in the county are being encouraged to apply for funding through the CLÁR programme.
The programme, which has a budget of €5 million this year, forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides grants for a wide variety of works in rural areas including playgrounds, car parks, public lighting, bus shelters, pedestrian crossings, speed safety signs and other safety measures at schools.
Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said: “I would strongly encourage community groups and schools in to apply for funding for safety measures near schools and other community facilities, as well as funding for play areas,” Deputy Carey said.
“The scope of the programme will also be extended this year to provide capital funding for innovative, community based projects that do not qualify for other established schemes,” he explained.
“Applications must be made through Clare County Council so I would encourage groups and schools with an idea or project proposal to make contact with them as soon as possible.
“This year’s CLÁR programme includes new initiative to support voluntary first-response organisations who provide an excellent service in rural areas, very often under very difficult circumstances. This funding will enable them to purchase or upgrade equipment to help them in their life-saving activities.”
The programme had been closed for new applications by Fianna Fáil in 2009 which was a huge loss to rural communities.
Deputy Carey said that full details of the scheme will be issued to the local authorities and other relevant organisations in the coming days.