More than €260,000 in funding has been allocated to provide safe access to several local schools and community area.

Clare TD Joe Carey this morning confirmed that seven local schools and community groups have been awarded a total of €261,365 in the latest round of Clár funding.

Deputy Carey said the money will be used to adapt areas around schools and community facilities to meet new public health requirements arising from Covid-19.

The local Fine Gael TD said: “The Clár Programme can be used for small scale infrastructural projects in rural communities where there has been significant levels of population decline, and this year it has been tailored to help communities to respond to the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“Seven local schools and communities have been provided with funding under a new measure for community recreational areas where friends and families can socialise outdoors in safe, accessible, community spaces while respecting public health guidelines.

“The funding will be used to provide new outdoor facilities such as picnic benches and tables, outdoor covered seating or BBQ areas, public lighting and bicycle stands. These recreational areas will play a vital role is keeping our communities together in a safe environment and allow for social interaction over the coming months.”

The local schools and organisation to benefit from this round of Clár funding are:
*Lakyle National School, Whitegate: €30,000 allocated to provide new turning space and parking measures at the school;
*Lissycasey Community Ltd: €50,000 funding to establish a new picnic area and drinking water fountain in the green area open space in front of the public toilets located beside creche and Lissycasey Playground, provide safe and secure parking facilities for bicycles, tar and chip and line the carpark, signage, upgrade existing walkway from Lissycasey NS.
*Ennis MD/Kilnamona National School: €43,200 for footpath and pedestrian crossing;
*Kilnaboy Community Development Association: €23,165 to upgrade the school, church and community car park;
*Broadford National School: €45,000 to Install a new controlled pedestrian crossing along with footpaths;
*Kilmihil People’s Park: €50,000 funding for a new outdoor amenity area, picnic area, litter bins, bike stands, public lighting, works to extend footpath and road crossing;
*West Clare/Kilkee MD – R487 Pedestrian Crossing: €20,000 funding to provide  a pedestrian crossing (across Church Road – R487) to provide safe pedestrian access to link Cluain Na Mara and Marian Housing Estates and Kilkee Community College, traffic lights, signs, footpath reconfiguration

Deputy Carey has worked with several local groups on their funding applications, including Lakyle National School in Whitegate.

The Clarecastle-based TD added: “I have worked closely with Cllr Pat Burke and the school principal in Whitegate, Mary Flanagan, on this application and the funding is very welcome news for the community and builds on last year’s development of a new classroom extension and Astro turf pitch.”

The €261,365 allocated to Clare schools and communities is part of more than €4.1 million awarded to 115 projects in rural communities across the country.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, said: “The projects announced today will help to improve safety around schools and community facilities in CLÁR areas and help people to socialise in a safe and socially-distanced manner.  

“The CLÁR programme supports rural areas that have suffered high levels of population decline.  It is particularly important at this time that we provide people living in those areas with the infrastructure that will help them to stay in touch with each other, within the parameters of the public health guidelines at any given time.”