The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, of over €261,000 in funding under the 2020 CLÁR programme for seven projects in County Clare.
These projects are among 115 projects in the country to benefit from €4.1 million in funding announced by the Minister on 2nd November, 2020, under the CLÁR scheme.
CLÁR is a targeted investment programme for rural areas that aims to provide funding for small projects in areas that have experienced significant depopulation in the past. The aim of CLÁR is to support the sustainable development of identified CLÁR areas with the aim of maintaining the population of those areas.
Speaking about the announcement, Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, made reference to the importance of this funding to support rural communities across the county. Mr Dowling said: “Since the CLÁR programme was re-introduced in 2016, it has provided funding of over €1 million to 58 projects under various measures in County Clare, which will help to improve the quality of life for people in many rural communities and demonstrates the local priorities of the county’s Rural Development Strategy.”
Launched in May 2020, this funding supports the provision of safety measures around schools and community facilities (Measure 1) as well as the development of community recreation areas (Measure 2). Locally, the successful projects reflect the work of the Rural Development Forum in Clare in actioning elements of Clare’s Rural Development Strategy, now in its third year.
Leonard Cleary, Director of Service, Rural Development, Clare County Council, said: “The CLÁR programme for 2020 had a particular focus this year in responding to the challenges for communities arising from Covid-19 in providing infrastructure that will help communities to stay in touch with each other, within the parameters of the public health guidelines at any given time.”
Commenting on the high level of interest in the CLÁR programme, Mr Cleary acknowledged “the huge effort continually demonstrated by community groups in rural areas, in collaboration with the local authority and Rural Development team”.
Under the funding announced, €161,365 will be provided to projects in five communities in Clare to provide and improve safety infrastructure, such as footpaths, public lighting, pedestrian crossings, speed safety signs and car-parking facilities, and to adapt the environs around schools/community facilities to meet the public health requirements arising from Covid-19. This funding has been awarded to projects at Lakyle National School, Kilnamona National School, Kilnaboy Community Development Association, Broadford National School and Kilkee pedestrian crossing.
A further €100,000 is being provided to two projects for community recreation areas where people can socialise safely outdoors in line with Covid-19 public health guidelines. The two successful Clare projects in this category include Lissycasey Community Ltd and Kilmihil People’s Park.
A further Measure 3 for community wellbeing supports, administered directly by the Department of Rural and Community Development, is due to be announced in the coming weeks for projects relating to meals on wheels and linked services, and mobility and cancer care transport.