Community playground approved as part of LEADER funds shake-up

Community playground approved as part of LEADER funds shake-up
Michael Ring, the rural and community development minister

A community playground in Rockchapel village, Co Cork, was one of the most recent projects approved for funding from the LEADER rural development scheme.

More than 2,200 projects have been approved nationwide, including nearly 600 this year.

This week, plans were announced to distribute €5m in additional LEADER funding, adding to the existing budget of €220m.

However, it will go only to at least 10 of the top performing Local Action Groups (LAGs), whose role it is to develop strategies and to identify, select and fund projects in their respective areas.

There are 29 LAGs in the country, and they have until September 20 to qualify for the bonus funding.

Michael Ring, the rural and community development minister, said: “Some Local Action Groups have been performing very well, and others need to perform better. I am keen to reward the best performers, and I know that this extra funding will greatly benefit communities in those areas.

“Furthermore, I will continue to monitor the performance of the Groups before deciding if a re-allocation of funding between LAGs is necessary.

A small number of LAGs will have allocated all of their available funding by the end of this year. On average, LAGs have indicated that about 80% of their project budget will be allocated by the end of 2019, with the remainder being allocated in 2020.

The best performing LAGs in terms of value of approved projects are Donegal, Kerry, and Mayo (over €5m each), Limerick and Tipperary(€4-5m), Cavan, Clare, Roscommon, Waterford and Wexford (€3-4m). The worst performers are Cork South and Galway West (under €1m), Cork West, , Dublin Rural, Galway East, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Westmeath, and Wicklow (€1-2m).

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