A project to provide a synthetic multi-use games area at St Enda’s National School in Lisdoonvarna is to receive €50,000 in government funding after an initial application for grant aid was rejected.

A further €47,595 has been allocated for the provision of a soft play area and the refurbishment of the existing tarmac playground at Tubber National School from the latest round of funding under the CLÁR programme.

Funding for the Lisdoonvarna development follows a successful appeal by Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey who said that the location of a Direct Provision Centre in Lisdoonvarna played a significant role in the decision to approve the application on this occasion. 

“There will also be a significant benefit to the local community as the school will allow access to the all weather multi-use pitch to other community groups and clubs on agreement outside school hours.

“The school’s application for funding from last year’s CLÁR programme was unsuccessful and I worked with Principal MJ Malone to ensure its inclusion in this year’s programme. 

“The school’s play and exercise areas are completely inadequate and simply can’t serve the needs of the school population while the Direct Provision Centre in Lisdoonvarna is placing further pressures on the facilities at St. Enda’s,” he added. 

“I asked Rural and Community Development Minister Michael Ring to reassess the application and I am delighted that he saw fit to approve funding on this occasion. 

Deputy Carey, who is chairman of the Oireachtas committee on rural affairs, said that 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 up to 2027.”

“The Clár programme, which had been closed for new applications by Fianna Fáil in 2009, is hugely important to rural communities. Because of the economic recovery, not only have we been able to reopen the Clár Programme, but we are continuing to build on it.

“We want to support people in depopulated areas to stay and raise their families there, which will serve to strengthen communities across rural Ireland”, Deputy Carey explained. 

The latest round of funding comes on top of €7.5 million for 240 projects of this nature approved earlier this year, bringing to €9.1 million the total investment in these facilities under the CLÁR programme in 2018.