*Leonard Cleary. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Developing a local lift initiative is part of the sustainable tourism approaches being adhered to in Loop Head, Council Director Leonard Cleary has said.

Speaking at the launch of the Clare Local Lift in Carrigaholt on Friday, Leonard Cleary is Director of Service for Rural Development within Clare County Council described the scheme as “an impressive project for the future of rural development”.

Support your community by giving a lift to those who need it is the slogan of the pilot being trialled in Carrigaholt over the next three months. Signed up users can request a free lift to different parts of the county while drivers will have the option of aiding them through a specially designed app.

Cleary outlined how the new scheme is part of the Clare Rural Development Strategy and the various objectives being worked on. “The guiding principles that underpin the Rural Development Strategy are pretty much about being rooted in the local community, it’s about a bottom up development approach but it is a community led approach and it also includes the building of capacity”.

“We’re also looking at challenging more traditional approaches to rural development to see how we can embrace new ways and new initiatives, today’s project is in the technology piece in bringing that in as an enabler of rural development. We’re also very conscious about a sustainable approach to rural development and that is why a community such as Carrigaholt in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way was selected, looking at a sustainable approach to tourism which is being led locally by the Loop Head tourism group but also the development associations in the parishes throughout the area.

“It is important that any development that happens on the economic side is sustainable but also on the tourism piece is sustainable and also the host environments and communities that are here. The strategy is trying to build up a shared future for the future of rural Clare,” he added.

Though he admitted the project was “a long shot” as a concept, Leonard paid tribute to the various personnel for making it become a reality such as senior executive officer, Monica Meehan, rural development staff, the Council’s IT staff, Enterprise Ireland, Arvoia, Carrigaholt Development Association and elected representatives.

“Without a community to embrace the testing and the piloting of the project it wouldn’t be possible for the traction to occur with the technology being applied in a practical approach in the community”.

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