Monday, 25 May 2020

2020 CLÁR Programme will help rural communities respond to COVID-19 – Minister Ring
€5 million fund forms part of Minister’s integrated Rural Development Investment Programme

Mr Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural & Community Development, today (Monday 25th May) announced details of the CLÁR programme for 2020.

CLÁR is one element of a €30 million package of co-ordinated and complementary supports that is being launched by the Minister this week as part of his Department’s Rural Development Investment Programme.   The other elements of the programme to be opened later this week will be the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.  The Rural Development Investment Programme is funded under Project Ireland 2040.

CLÁR provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered significant levels of population decline. The supports provided through CLÁR have been tailored this year to help rural communities to respond to the new COVID-19 environment. This includes the addition of new funding measures.

The measures being funded under the 2020 CLÁR programme are:

Measure 1: Schools/Community Safety measures (expanded in 2020)

Measure 2: Community Recreation Areas (new in 2020)

Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Supports, comprising:

  • Meals on Wheels and linked services (new in 2020)
  • Mobility and Cancer Care Transport

Announcing the funding, Minister Ring said:

I am pleased to announce the launch of the CLÁR programme for 2020. Since I reopened the scheme in 2016, it has made a very positive contribution to some of our most remote rural communities, supporting over 1,400 projects with funding of almost €33 million. This year, more than ever, these communities need our continued support.

“I have reviewed and revised our approach to CLÁR this year so that it reflects the new challenges which COVID-19 has brought to our communities. In particular:

  • The Schools and Community Safety Measure, which funds items such as pedestrian crossings and footpaths to provide safe access to schools, has been broadened to allow additional investments to adapt areas around schools and community facilities to help meet new public health requirements arising from COVID-19.
  • Funding will be provided under a new Measure for community recreational areas where friends and families can socialise outdoors in safe, accessible, community spaces while respecting public health guidelines. This Measure will include support for items such as picnic benches/tables, outdoor covered seating or BBQ areas, public lighting, bicycle stands, bandstand/stage areas, etc.  These recreational areas will be particularly important for community social interaction in the coming months, in line with the Government’s Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business.
  • Community organisations providing meals on wheels and other community services will also be supported to purchase kitchen or food delivery equipment. They can also access funds for any adaptations that may be necessary to their existing vehicles as a result of new public health guidelines. I am delighted to be able to assist these organisations that provide vital services which support people to live in their own homes while also playing a role in combating rural isolation.
  • We will also separately continue to fund vehicles for those vital voluntary organisations that provide free transport for people with mobility issues and for those attending cancer treatments.”

Minister Ring continued:

“I have introduced a standard grant rate of up to 90% of the total cost of projects across all of the CLÁR Measures this year.  This should ensure that the requirement on communities or Local Authorities to source match funding is kept to a minimum.

With the introduction of these new Measures, my Department will play its part in helping rural communities adapt their local spaces and support their interactions with one another in a safe but inclusive way. I will be announcing further complementary supports in the coming days under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme as part of my Department’s Rural Development Investment Programme”.

Full details of the CLÁR Programme for 2020 are available at