The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, today (Thursday) announced details of the CLÁR programme for 2018. CLÁR provides funding for small scale capital projects in rural areas that have experienced significant levels of depopulation. The programme, which has a budget of €5 million this year, forms part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and will support investments such as play areas for children; traffic calming measures around schools; and support for emergency responders.

Minister Ring said: “We want to encourage people to raise their families in rural areas by helping to improve the quality of life locally. A modest investment under the CLÁR scheme, such as the provision of a playground or play area, can have a significant impact on a rural community.

“The CLÁR programme is also helping to make rural schools safer for our children by funding footpaths outside schools and supporting traffic calming measures to get cars to slow down as they pass schools. These are simple measures but they make a huge difference for parents and children in rural communities.

“I recently visited remote Knockananna in west Wicklow, where an artificial pitch and playground, funded under the CLÁR Programme, have transformed the village and provided a fantastic outlet for people in the community.  

“I am delighted to announce that once again this year, the CLÁR programme will support our voluntary first-response organisations who provide an excellent and vital service in rural areas, often under very difficult circumstances. Having a defibrillator in your area can mean the difference between life and death for a local person. It’s that simple. Last year 158 of these devices were distributed under the CLÁR Programme. We also allocated funding for twelve emergency response vehicles for voluntary organisations including the Order of Malta and the South Eastern Mountain Rescue Association.

Minister Ring added: “One of the strategic objectives of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy is to strengthen rural economies and communities. The CLÁR programme is helping to improve the quality of life in rural communities and is an important part of the Government’s integrated strategy for rural development which will be supported through the new Rural Regeneration and Development Fund. This fund will provide an additional €1 billion to be invested directly into rural communities by my Department up to 2027.”

“I am delighted to announce the allocation of €5 million in funding for the programme this year and I will be inviting Local Authorities and other groups to submit proposals to my Department for consideration.” 

Full details of the CLÁR programme will be issued to the Local Authorities and other relevant organisations in the coming days.



The CLÁR programme (Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais) is a targeted capital investment programme for rural areas which have experienced significant levels of depopulation.  The programme was originally launched in October 2001 but was closed for applications in 2010. The scheme was re-opened by Minister Ring in 2016 to support the development of remote rural areas through small-scale capital projects involving collaboration between Local Authorities and communities. The CLÁR programme has supported 900 projects across Ireland since 2016.

Areas targeted under the CLÁR Programme are parts of counties: Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow and all of County Leitrim. A map of CLÁR areas is provided below.

2018 Measures

The 2018 CLÁR programme will see funding provided under three measures:
Measure 1:   Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures
Measure 2:   Play Areas
Measure 3:   First Response Support Measure

The scheme is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and is delivered, for the most part, by the Local Authorities in consultation with local communities.  Proposals will be submitted to the Department for consideration and approval. 

Full details of the scheme will be issued to the Local Authorities and other relevant organisations in the coming days.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

The National Development Plan 2018-2027 was published by the Government in February 2018 as part of Project Ireland 2040. The Plan sets out the Government’s objectives for capital investment of €116 billion over the period 2018-2027, to drive long term economic, environmental and social progress across all parts of the country over the next decade.

The National Development Plan includes a new €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, under the Department of Rural and Community Development, which will promote rural renewal, enabling small rural towns and villages and outlying rural areas to grow sustainably.

Action Plan for Rural Development

The Action Plan for Rural Development, Realising Our Rural Potential, was published by the Government in January 2017.  The Plan provides a framework for a co-ordinated approach across Government to support the economic and social development of rural Ireland. It contains over 270 actions for delivery over 3 years across 5 Thematic Pillars.  The Action Plan is available at

Map of CLÁR areas