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'Disadvantaged' Donegal needs more CLÁR funding 03.05.17

DONEGAL must get its fair share of CLÁR funding given its "high levels" of disadvantage and population decline, a local TD has said.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue made the call following the recent announcement of the CLÁR programme for 2017.
A total of €5m is being made available to community groups for small scale capital projects in rural areas nationwide that have experienced significant levels of depopulation.
The programme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development, launched in January 2017.
“This scheme is particularly welcome in counties which experience isolation like Donegal, however it does place unnecessary restrictions which limit the availability of funding in certain areas," said Deputy McConalogue.
“Donegal County Council will only be able to submit a maximum of 20 projects to be considered for funding. I don’t think this is fair or equitable given the size of the county and the level of disadvantage and population decline experienced within it.
Deputy Charlie McConalogue.
The Department should be making its decisions based on need and not limiting the number of applications per county."
The Inishowen-based TD., added: “I also have concerns over the reclassification of CLÁR areas. "Although a large portion of Donegal is included within the CLÁR programme there are a number of areas in north and south Inishowen, Ramelton, Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Killygorden, Convoy and South Donegal that are not included.
"I have written to Minister (Heather) Humphreys seeking clarification on her plans to revise the areas which are currently classified as CLÁR - this is important in light of the recent Census data which revealed a 1.2% drop in the population in Donegal," he said, adding that he would "campaign strongly" to ensure a higher portion of funding for Donegal.
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