Applicants for CLÁR funding must act without delay – Feeley

Communities and in particular, schools must act if they wish to benefit under the 2017 CLÁR Programme as the deadline for return of applications to the local authorities is 24th April 2017 and in turn Councils must get the applications in to the Department by the 5th May 2017 according to Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley.
‘The CLÁR funding does offer an opportunity to the most disadvantaged communities in the country to benefit with assistance aimed at safety measures at schools and community facilities and also towards the provision of playgrounds. However, given the tight deadlines it will be a major challenge for the Councils and local communities to get all the necessary information together to lodge applications in time.’
Furthermore there are significant restrictions under the 2017 Programme which limits each county to twenty applications. Last year many schools received small funds but this year it will substantially restrict the number of communities which can benefit.
‘The Department have washed their hands of the bulk of the decision making in that they have restricted the number of applications which they will accept, they have also learned nothing from the tight deadlines they imposed in 2016. CLÁR communities are the weakest and most disadvantaged in the country so for them to be expected to turn applications around in that short of period is most difficult. It also places a huge burden over a short period on already hard pressed staff in local authorities.’
Concluding, Councillor Feeley stated that irrespective of the challenges, community groups and school Boards of Management should arrange to contact their local municipal district office as a matter of urgency to ensure that all monies are drawn down.