The Mayor of Clare has welcomed the announcement of the first round of funding under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for 2020 by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD.
Cllr Mary Howard, said the funding “recognises the need to support rural businesses and communities to rebuild in response to Covid-19”.
This first round of funding under the accelerated measures sees the commitment of €114,274 for five projects in Clare, as part of a national competitive process, which will bring a welcome stimulus to towns and villages. Speaking in relation to the funding, Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, acknowledged the specific Covid-19 focus of the accelerated measures under this year’s scheme which, he said, “will help communities to shop, socialise and work safely as we move through the phases of reopening the country.”
Mr Dowling noted the significant “interest and innovation of communities in putting forward projects for consideration under this funding measure to adapt outdoor spaces for social gatherings, dining or the hosting of outdoor events, and public realm/infrastructural enhancements to enable social distancing and to make towns and villages more welcoming”.
Leonard Cleary, Director of Service, Rural and Community Development, Clare County Council, acknowledged that “the approved projects will assist businesses and communities in towns and villages to adapt to the specific challenges posed by Covid-19, increasing footfall and generating economic activity in the short term in delivering on the Clare Rural Development Strategy”.
These projects have been identified by local community groups and businesses, in conjunction with Municipal Districts, Mr Cleary said. Welcoming the Minister’s announcement, he further acknowledged the allocation of €5m nationally towards “the maintenance, upkeep and improvement of community centres, community buildings and community facilities, all of which are part of the fabric of rural Clare and at the heart of our communities,” which he said will help to build stronger and safer communities arising from Covid-19.
The five projects in Clare selected by the Department of Rural and Community Development under round 1 of the accelerated measures are:
- Tulla – Social distancing community meeting space;
- Tuamgraney – Improvements to East Clare Memorial Park including footpaths, seating and boundary wall;
- Kilkee – Reconfiguration of playground layout to allow for social distancing;
- Carrigaholt – Provision of outdoor tables and seating with temporary awnings; and
- Killaloe – Provision of measures to promote social distancing in main pedestrian areas.
Further approvals under round 2 of the accelerated measures under Town and Village Renewal are expected to be announced by Minister Humphreys in the weeks ahead.