The primary objective of the CLÁR Programme is to support the sustainable development of designated CLÁR areas with the aim of encouraging people to continue live and work in those areas. It provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in designated rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation.
In the normal course, CLÁR eligibility is based on the project in question being physically located within a designated CLÁR DED. However, given the nature of the activities and the need to travel considerable distances, in some cases, and the need to maintain vehicles/equipment in practical/convenient locations, in the case of Measure 3 (First Response Support) and Measure 4 (Support for Mobility and Cancer Care Transport) under CLÁR 2018, eligibility was based on the ‘catchment area’ being served by the equipment and by demonstrating that the majority (at least 80%) of the need could be attributed to CLÁR DED’s.
I initiated a review of the CLÁR programme on the 23rd of November 2018 with a targeted consultation meeting with a number of people who are recognised for their background and expertise in relation to rural development issues. The review will examine CLÁR areas by reference to the 2016 Census of Population data and will also help to determine the most appropriate measures to be included in CLÁR programmes in 2019 and beyond. I hope that this review will be completed during 2019.
I intend to launch a further call for proposals under the CLÁR Programme shortly and applications will be accepted based on their compliance with the eligibility criteria. I will be making decisions regarding the specific measures to be supported in 2019, in the coming weeks.