Government tightening the purse strings on rural CLÁR funding

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Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has accused the government of tightening the purse strings on rural areas over this week’s CLÁR funding announcement.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development announced this week that 104 CLÁR applications would benefit from €3.8 million funding, including over a quarter of a million to six projects in Galway.

“While it is important that we welcome the arrival of any funding to carry out these worthwhile projects, it is obvious that this funding run has been cut short by this Government,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.

“While the minister did allocate almost €4 million in this CLAR payment run. It falls well short of the grants awarded last year in Galway and Roscommon respectively.”

“For instance, this year’s funding has been cut by over €330,000 for Co. Galway. A total of 6 projects have received just over €264,000. While in 2018, 15 projects benefited from €603,000,” he added.

CLÁR provides funding for small infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered high levels of rural depopulation.

All of the projects which have received funding this week have qualified under Measures 1 & 2 of the programme.

Measure 1 of the programme includes support for the provision of footpaths, public lighting, pedestrian crossings, speed safety signs and car parking facilities.

Measure 2 supports the construction of new playgrounds and Multi Use Games Areas, as well as the upgrade of existing playgrounds and equipment in many communities.

Deputy Fitzmaurice said that he was highly disappointed about some of the applicants for funding under the most recent round of the programme which were refused funding.

He added that funds for small projects in the CLÁR programme are being swallowed up by infrastructure issues like the massively over budget Children’s Hospital.