The CLÁR programme provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in disadvantaged rural areas that have experienced significant levels of de-population.
As I have pointed out previously, the areas included in the programme are based on an analysis of population loss in the Census of Population data at District Electoral Division (DED) level. The current designated CLÁR areas are based on work carried out by the NIRSA Institute at Maynooth University in 2006.
As the Deputy will be aware, I re-launched the CLÁR programme in 2016, after a period of some years when the programme was closed for new applications. The areas identified in the work carried out by NIRSA in 2006 were used as a base-line for the re-launched programme.
I have now initiated a review of the CLÁR programme which will examine CLÁR areas by reference to the 2016 Census of Population data. It will also consider whether there are any other factors that should be taken into account in designating areas for eligibility under CLÁR in the future. My officials have been in contact with NIRSA with a view to progressing the review.
I envisage that a wider stakeholder consultation will also take place as part of the process. Once completed, the review will help to inform the design of future CLÁR programmes and the areas covered.
I can confirm from the details supplied by the Deputy that the village referred to in her correspondence is not currently located in a CLÁR area and is therefore not eligible under the CLÁR programme at present. If the prospective applicant has not already done so, enquiries could be made to the Department of Education about the possibility of funding for the proposed project.