Alan Kelly T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, and Ann Phelan, TD Minister of State for Rural Affairs have announced the County allocations for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme (RDP).
Today, both Ministers have allocated €220 million overall to individual sub-regional (county) areas for the purposes of the implementation of the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme by Local Action Groups within those areas. As announced in Budget 2015, an overall €250 million will be allocated towards the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme.
To bring the allocation to the full programme complement of €250million, an additional €15million will be allocated to two Agri-Food measures managed jointly by DECLG and DAFM. A further €10 million will be used to support cooperation projects over the lifetime of the programme with a particular emphasis on cross-border initiatives, this process will be coordinated by DECLG and delivered using the LEADER/Community Led approach. The final €5 million will be held in reserve to potentially support a more extensive Rural Economic Development Zones project should the pilot initiative recommended by CEDRA prove successful.
LEADER funding will be used to support sustainable economic development projects for rural communities ranging from tourism, agri-food and other business activities. This money will be targeted at tackling social inclusion, rural isolation as well as increasing the capacity of rural communities to participate in economic development. The exact nature of the projects chosen will be based on ideas that emerge from the communities themselves. An expression of interests process will begin shortly.
Minister Kelly said, “LEADER is a vital lifeline for many rural communities. These substantial financial resources allocated to each county for the delivery of LEADER will support the continued sustainable development of rural communities all over Ireland in the coming years. Minister Phelan and I are determined to address issues of rural decline and I am confident that the 2014-2020 programme will be just as successful as the 2007-2013 programme which has seen funding going to 8698 enterprises that have supported the creation of 4084 jobs since 2009. I am aware of many excellent community facilities and amenities that LEADER support has facilitated and improved all over the country supporting social inclusion and community participation in very difficult times. I also believe the on-going work at a local level to ensure more coordination as outlined in the Government’s reform programme ‘Putting People First’ will serve only to improve the impact of LEADER funding in rural communities and ensure that rural Ireland is given the support it needs and deserves”.
Minister Phelan added, “I am delighted that we have reached the stage where every county now knows what allocation they will receive under the LEADER elements of the RDP. I now look forward to formally launching the selection process for the Local Development Strategies that will provide the framework for the delivery of this funding. Coming from a rural community, I am only too well aware of the challenges that are being faced by our local communities in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But, rural Ireland is ready to participate in the recovery. There is a wealth of resources and existing infrastructure across rural Ireland that can be utilised to ensure that recovery is felt throughout the country. I am confident that these resources will support the sustainable development of rural communities the length and breadth of this country and very much look forward to seeing and hearing about new LEADER projects commencing towards the end of this year.”
Ireland is reconfiguring the way in which local and rural development interventions are implemented in sub-regional areas. This is in line with Government policy to ensure that local government is positioned to support the effective and efficient delivery of local and rural development interventions. In this context the overall programme complement will be allocated to Sub-Regional areas based on administrative (primarily county based) boundaries.
|Table 1: LEADER Allocations 2014-2020|
|Sub Regional Area||Programme Allocation|