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Erica Long, staff member at Obair Newmarket On Fergus, preparing meals to be distributed to the elderly and people in sheltered accommodation in the Clare area. Photograph by John Kelly

Funding boost for six Clare communities

SIX towns and villages in Clare have been given a funding boost of just under €800,000 to help local communities adapt to life under Covid-19 restrictions.
A total of €779,242 has been allocated to the local projects under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme 2020.
€200,000 has been granted to Obair in Newmarket-On-Fergus to regenerate a derelict building on main street. The project will see the construction of a production kitchen, cooking enterprise hubs, a commercial cookery school, holistic space and office suites and a youth cafe. The project aims to help make Newmarket-On-Fergus to be a more sustainable village in which to live, work and socialise.
In Kilfenora €200,000 in funding has been allocated for the development of a Universal Access Centre of Discovery for the Burren told through the five senses – sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell. Universal Access will increase capacity to cater for a wider audience and enhance the overall tourism offering.
€90,242 funding has been granted for a project in Lisdoonvarna that will provide a 2km, universally accessible, looped heritage and biodiversity trail through community owned parklands and the town centre incorporating wellness, exercise, recreation, culture and historical interpretation.
Clooney will benefit from €99,000 in funding to interconnect the different areas of the village to provide necessary public realm infrastructure and create an enhanced sense of place.
The construction of 450m of combined cycle/footpath to link both ends of Barefield village has been allocated €90,000. This project includes traffic calming measures, crossings, drainage and landscaping. A three-metre wide footpath/walkway will facilitate a greater level of walking and cycling to the village facilities in particular the school. This, in turn, will result in less people gathering in smaller spaces and provide the local community an environment where social distancing is easily achieved.
While in Parteen €100,000 has been granted to install a 400m footpath/cyclepath on Kilquane Drive (aka ‘School Road’ / L-3060) linking Parteen Village and Larkin’s Cross.
Welcoming the significant funding for local projects, Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said, “The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is a vital resource for local communities to draw from and significant investment has been made in towns and villages throughout County Clare through this scheme in recent years. It’s more important than ever to assist local communities and businesses to address the challenges that Covid-19 has brought to our towns and villages.
“These six projects will provide a very welcome boost to our local communities as we adjust to life under Covid-19. These are difficult times, of course, but measures such as these will enhance our communities and give us some of the tools we need so that life can continue as close to normal as possible under the circumstances.”
He added, “I would also like to pay tribute to Leonard Cleary and his team at Clare County Council for making these fantastic community projects a priority. This funding from the Department of Rural & Community Development will give a timely and very welcome boost to our communities who are showing such positive leadership through adversity. They are providing the type of initiative and inspirationthat will ensure our communities will survive and thrive during these extremely challenging times.”
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Councillor Mary Howard also welcomed the funding stating, “I am delighted that Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has made this funding available through the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. This funding has always been vitally important to help towns and villages in County Clare thrive, and it is even more beneficial as communities respond to the challenges presented by Covid-19. Towns and villages will be able to implement immediate measures that will encourage people into towns and villages to shop and socialise, while adhering to public health guidelines. It is important we generate economic activity while keeping the people in our communities safe.”

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