Donegal TD Joe McHugh has called on community groups and schools in Donegal 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 which was launched in January 2017. Donegal is one of a number of counties where the fund applies.
Grants are available 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.
Fine Gael Minister McHugh said: “I would strongly encourage community groups and schools in Donegal to apply for funding through the CLÁR programme.
“Funding will be made available for safety measures near schools and other community facilities, as well as funding for play areas.
“The safety measures coupled with funding for playgrounds and multi-use games areas will assist CLÁR areas to provide safe amenities for their young people thereby increasing the attractiveness of an area from both a social and economic perspective”.
“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.
“Applications must be made through our local authority so I would encourage groups and schools with an idea or project proposal to make contact with Donegal County Council.”
Minister McHugh added: “This year my colleague Minister Ring announced a new initiative under CLÁR 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 that is fit for purpose in assisting them in their life-saving activities.”
This is the second round of funding Minister Ring has announced, having re-opened the CLÁR programme last October. The programme had been closed for new applications by Fianna Fáil in 2009 which was a huge loss to rural communities.
CLÁR forms part of a suite of measures introduced by Fine Gael to support our rural communities. Other important schemes such as the Rural Recreation programme and Town and Village Renewal Scheme will also open for applications shortly.
These funding streams are an important part of the Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising Our Rural Potential, which was launched by Minister Heather Humphreys in January 2017.
The Plan provides a framework for a co-ordinated approach across Government to support the economic and social development of rural Ireland.
The scheme is funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and delivered, for the most part, by the Local Authorities in consultation with local communities. Proposals will be submitted to the Department for consideration and approval.
Full details of the scheme will be issued to the Local Authorities and other relevant organisations in the coming days.