Two Clare community organisations have been awarded a total of €66,215 to fund new vehicles to transport local patients to hospitals and treatment centres, Deputy Joe Carey has announced.

The funding for Irish Red Cross Clare and Sláinte an Chláir is part of an overall €1.3 million package to fund vehicles to 26 community-based groups across the country that has been made available by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys under the CLÁR programme.

The new vehicles will be used to provide essential transport services for people with mobility issues.

Irish Red Cross Clare will receive €42,685 to fund a new wheelchair accessible vehicle. Sláinte an Chláir has been allocated a total of €23,530 for a new vehicle.

Deputy Carey, who has worked closely with both organisations, said: “I’m delighted that these two fantastic groups have been awarded this funding for two new vehicles that will help them to carry out the vital work they do for communities across Clare.

“In 2020 alone Irish Red Cross Clare has taken 215 trips ferrying patients to hospitals and cancer care treatment centres in Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Ennis and Croom.

“The Sláinte an Chláir group headed by Mary Hewson is a fantastic voluntary organisation that has made a huge difference to the lives of the people of Clare and their families affected by cancer.

“These new vehicles will be used to transport people living in Clare to hospitals and treatment centres free of charge under the National Cancer Care Programme.”

Minister Humphreys added: “I am delighted to continue my Department’s support under the CLÁR programme for voluntary organisations that provide transport services to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. This funding, which I have increased by over 40 per cent compared to last year, will provide suitable vehicles that will enable people living in designated rural areas to access vital treatment and medical services. The organisations receiving support under the scheme provide invaluable services in their communities and I am pleased to be able to support their efforts.”