The Department is responsible for the co-ordination of rural development measures as envisaged under A Programme for Partnership Government, the Charter for Rural Ireland and the recommendations of the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA). However, the formulation and implementation of rural development policy is a Government-wide effort, requiring close co-ordination between relevant Government Departments, State agencies, key stakeholders and rural communities. In that regard, the Department is currently preparing an Action Plan for Rural Ireland, which will utilise a similar framework to the very successful Action Plan for Jobs. It is intended that the Action Plan will draw on the commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government, the recommendations in the report of the CEDRA report and the Charter for Rural Ireland, as well as other Government programmes and policies that have influence on the sustainable development of rural areas. The aim of the Action Plan will be to identify a series of time-bound actions with specific and measureable outputs and coordinate the implementation of those actions with a view to ensuring that all areas of Ireland are supported equally and facilitated in their development into the future. It is hoped that the Action Plan will be published by the end of 2016.
The Department will also continue to implement key rural development initiatives including, inter alia, the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, the rollout of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme and the pilot project in relation to Rural Economic Development Zones.
The CLÁR programme (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais) is a targeted investment programme which provides funding for small scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered the greatest levels of population decline. The aim of CLÁR is to support the sustainable development of identified CLÁR areas by attracting people to live and work there. The funding works in conjunction with local funding and on the basis of locally identified priorities. The programme has been effectively closed for new applications since 2009 but was reopened by Minister Ring on the 6th of October 2016 with funding provided under the following three measures:
- Measure 1: Safety package for Schools/Community Facilities
- Measure 2: Outdoor Play Facilities Enhancement Scheme/support for the development of Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA)
- Measure 3: Local Access Roads
All Local Authorities with designated CLÁR areas were invited to make submissions under the measures this includes all counties except Dublin, Wexford and Kildare. On the 1st December 2016 Minister Ring announced funding of €8.24 million to 651 successful projects under the programme.
Details of the successful projects by county are available at the Links below .
- Measure 1 Safety Measures for Schools and Community Sports Facilities
- Measure 2 Playgroounds and Multi-Use Games areas
- Measure 3 Local Access Raods
Should you have any queries in relation to this Scheme, please submit by e-mail to: CLAR@ahg.gov.ie