An Obair project, to develop the Tradaree Food Hub in the centre of the village, has been awarded €200,000 from the Government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

Welcoming the announcement, Deputy Joe Carey said Obair now has the opportunity to redevelop a landmark building on the village’s main street formerly known as the Tradaree Arms.

Obair, he said, is providing matching funding of €200,000 to complete the works which will include a kitchen training unit for chefs, a production unit for enhanced meals on wheels service and an incubation unit for small business start-ups. Deputy Carey said, “This project is jobs rich and makes absolute sense.”

The scheme was delivered by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, who said, “Following on from the success of the 2016 scheme, I am delighted to be able to allocate €21.6 million for projects in 281 towns and villages right across rural Ireland.  This allocation more than doubles the €10 million allocated to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme last year.”

Minister Ring commented, “I have placed a particular emphasis this year on projects which have the capacity to support the economic development of rural town and villages as well as their neighbouring townlands.  The scheme will also support improvements to public amenities in town and village centres, to help make them more attractive places in which to live and work and to visit.”

Welcoming the €944,000 coming to nine communities in the county, Independent Clare TD Dr Michael Harty congratulated the successful towns and villages. “Whilst the funding for this initiative is not as much as is needed, nevertheless the scheme has been significantly improved by Minister Michael Ring. I am confident that it will make a significant contribution to the improvement of the areas that have been successful.”

Among the other successful applicants are €100,000 each for Clarecastle’s streetscape rejuvenation project and the expansion of Cnoc na Gaoithe in Tulla. Dr Harty said great credit is due to the promoters of each successful project who have worked long and hard to achieve that stimulus for their various projects.

“I feel sure that each area will benefit significantly from this rejuvenation initiative. However, it is a bit of a lottery, there are winners and there are those who are not successful. What, I want to see is the implementation of strategic planning for rural rejuvenation that will impact on villages right across the county. It must promote economic activity and also focus on the retention of services. Nonetheless, this scheme is a step in the right direction and I look forward to its development and expansion in the future.”