A new programme where Clare County Council aims to encourage people to set up home in rural parts of the county has been launched, Clare.fm reported on December 23.

Ireland is moving ahead with plans to enact part of its ground-breaking €1bn rural regeneration fund, which aims to breath new life into declining rural areas across the country. The Clare project is in line with the broader vision of the project – albeit on a more local scale.

Dubbed the ‘Opt Rural’ initiative, the programme is similar to one run previously called the Rural Resettlement Ireland scheme, which is reported to have helped 800 people move to the West coast before being shut down two years ago.

According to information available, the project is being developed at a cross-department level in Clare County Council. If given the green-light, the project intends to apply for funding under Ireland’s Rural Regeneration Development Fund.

Fine Gael Councillor for the Ennistymon electoral area Joe Garrihy, who has a track record in supporting local investment, in the North Clare area said the programme would “give a new lease of life to remote parts of Clare.”

As part of the Project Ireland 2040, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund aims to help and support villages, towns and remote areas through transformational medium and large-scale schemes. Funding of €315mn is initially allocated on a phased basis for 2019 to 2020, Fundraising Magazine reported.

The closing date for the receipt of proposals is 12 pm on Friday, 28th February 2020. Applications should be submitted electronically on the official application form, which is available on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Fund seeks to support proposals which will drive increased activity in our rural towns and villages and they can relate to, for example, enterprise, culture, community, recreation or tourism development.