Cork has been allocated just over €13.9m in the new LEADER programme round which will run until 2020 (from a total national allocation of €250m).
Cllr McGrath said: “The available budget is greatly reduced from previous LEADER programmes. Communities have been cut-off from LEADER funding over recent years, and there is a pipeline of projects ready to be assessed.”
Cork County Council will provide a €3.5m supplementary community development initiative fund to support LEADER, bringing funding to €17.4m.
Tim Lucey said, “We are one of only a handful of local authorities across the country that have backed-up the LEADER programme in this way.”
LEADER, co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, supports local and community projects including rural tourism, enterprise development, rural towns, access to broadband, basic services targeted at hard-to-reach communities, rural youth, protection and sustainable use of water resources, protection and improvement of local biodiversity, and development of renewable energy.
In North Cork, LEADER will be implemented by a consortium of the North Cork local action group (LAG) and three incumbent local development companies, Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership, Ballyhoura Development and IRD Duhallow.
In South Cork, the programme will be implemented by a consortium of the South Cork LAG and four incumbent local development companies, Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership, South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD), Údarás na Gaeltachta, and IRD Duhallow.
In West Cork, the programme will be implemented by a consortium of the West Cork LAG and three existing local development companies, Avondhu-Blackwater Partnership, SECAD and Comhar na nOileán Teo.
Contact details, application forms and all the latest LEADER news, including formal Calls for Expressions of Interest for suitable projects, are available on the leadersouthcork.com; leaderwestcork.com; and leadernorthcork.com websites.
* Meanwhile, LEADER Expressions of Interest are sought in the Kerry area of IRD Duhallow. Although the closing date for Expressions of Interest in the enterprise sector has passed, other measures will be accepted as project promoters complete them.
The staff of IRD Duhallow will assist in completing all forms, and with developing project ideas.
Application forms are available on the www.irdduhallow.com website.