The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in disadvantaged rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation. I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on 28 February last and applications were invited under three separate measures. Measure 1 provides support for school and community safety measures; measure 2 provides support for play areas and multi-use games areas; and measure 3 provides funding for community well-being support. The closing date for applications under the 2019 CLÁR programme was 30 April and almost 500 proposals were received by my Department. My officials are currently finalising the assessment of these applications and I hope to be in a position to announce successful projects shortly.
The outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme provides funding to develop new outdoor recreational infrastructure and to maintain, enhance and promote existing infrastructure. I launched the 2019 outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme on 29 March last and applications were invited under three separate measures, based on the scale of the projects. The closing date for applications was 31 May, and over 260 applications were received. These are now being assessed by my officials.
The walks scheme supports the development and maintenance of some of Ireland’s key walking trails. The scheme currently covers 39 trails, with payments made to approximately 1,900 private landholders to maintain these trails. The Programme for a Partnership Government includes a commitment to increase the number of walks covered by the scheme, and funding for the scheme was doubled in budget 2019, from €2 million to €4 million.
In February this year, I invited expressions of interest for new trails to join the scheme. To date, 46 trails have been put forward by local development companies for consideration. I hope to be in a position to announce the first tranche of trails to be added to the scheme by the end of the summer. There is no closing date for the expressions of interest to be made to my Department under the walks scheme at this time. Interested groups should contact their local authority or local development company for further information if they have a trail that they want to have added to the scheme.