The village of Ballymore.

€250k CLÁR funding boost for four communities

Four rural communities in Westmeath are to benefit from a new €250,000 funding allocation under the CLÁR scheme.

Ballymore is to receive €100,000 for two projects in the village. The local community centre will use its €50,000 allocation to install a new car park, while a new astro pitch and fencing are to be installed at Ballymore GAA Club's ground.

Finea Tidy Towns has been allocated €50,000, while in Rosemount the funding will go towards increased public lighting.

Welcoming the news, Minister of State Peter Burke said that he has worked with many of the groups and their high allocation is a testament to the hours of work that goes in to running their community groups and making these applications for grant funding.

“I am delighted to confirm that five local groups are set to benefit from €250,000 as part of Measure 1 of the CLÁR scheme. I have worked with my colleague Councillor Tom Farrell on many of these projects and I am glad to see they have been supported.

“These projects will mean these communities and school areas are kept safer for locals and residents to enjoy.

“The CLÁR scheme is wide ranging, and only rural areas which have experienced depopulation and certain levels of deprivation are eligible, which means the communities that need the most support are targeted. Minister Michael Ring when he was in this portfolio re-opened the scheme after it was shelved just after the recession. CLÁR aims to support sustainable development in identified areas by attracting people to live and work there.

“This is Measure 1 which provides support for schools and community safety measures. Further rounds of the scheme will be announced later in the summer and these will include funding for outdoor community recreation facilities and community well-being measures which include community gardens and allotments as well as mobility, cancer care and first responder transport

“If you think your community could be in a CLÁR area, I have a map in my office or can forward it to you by email so you can check. These grants are a great resource for communities and Minister Humphreys continues to increase the grant opportunities year on year.”

The news was also welcomed by Minister, Robert Troy.

He said: "The Government is talking a ground-up approach to rural development. Every community is different and the people living in the towns and villages across rural Ireland know what their community needs the most.

"This programme and funding announced today puts the needs of rural communities first.

"I was pleased to work with some of these groups to submit their applications for funding and I hope this new funding will make our communities across Westmeath even more attractive places to work, live and raise a family."