The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in disadvantaged rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation. The aim of CLÁR is to support the sustainable development of designated CLÁR areas with the aim of encouraging people to continue live and work in those areas.
CLÁR was closed for new applications from 2010 to 2016, when I reintroduced the programme. Since then, more than 1,200 projects have been approved for funding of €25 million under CLÁR. The type of projects which have been supported include safety measures around schools and community facilities, the provision of play areas, supports for first responders in emergency situations, and a measure to provide vehicles to transport people to cancer care and respite centres. Total payments under the CLÁR programme in 2018 amounted to €6.9 million. This figure includes some payments in respect of 2017 CLÁR project approvals where projects continued into 2018. It is my intention to launch a further call for proposals under CLÁR this year. Decisions regarding specific measures to be supported in 2019 will be made shortly, and I anticipate that the programme will be opened for new applications in the first quarter of the year.