Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue is calling on the Government to ensure that Donegal receives its fair share of CLÁR funding given the high levels of disadvantage and population decline experienced in the county.
Minister of State for Regional Economic Development Michael Ring announced details of the recent CLÁR programme for 2017 last month. €5m is being made available to community groups across the country. CLÁR provides funding for small scale capital projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation and it forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development which was launched in January 2017.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “This scheme is particularly welcome in counties which experience isolation like Donegal, however it does place unnecessary restrictions which limit the availability of funding in certain areas.
“Donegal County Council will only be able to submit a maximum of 20 projects to be considered for funding. I don’t think this is fair or equitable given the size of the county and the level of disadvantage and population decline experienced within it. The Department should be making its decisions based on need and not limiting the number of applications per county.
“I also have concerns over the reclassification of CLÁR areas. Although a large portion of Donegal is included within the CLÁR programme there are a number of areas in North and South Inishowen, Ramelton, Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Killygorden, Convoy and South Donegal that are not included. I have written to Minister Humphreys seeking clarification on her plans to revise the areas which are currently classified as CLÁR – this is important in light of the recent CENSUS data which revealed a 1.2% drop in the population in Donegal.
“I believe that more areas within Donegal need to granted CLÁR status and I will be campaigning strongly to ensure that a higher portion of funding is earmarked for the county.
“The very purpose of the CLÁR programme is to provide for targeted investment in disadvantaged rural areas and it is important that more areas within Donegal can apply for this funding”, concluded McConalogue.