Boost for LEADER rural development programme likely after 2017

Additional funding after 2017 for the LEADER rural development programme has been suggested by Environment, Community and Local Government Minister Simon Coveney.

The funding is referred to in the Programme for Government. 

“I believe there is sufficient funding allocated under the programme to meet demand in 2016 and 2017,“ said Mr Coveney. 

“It is likely, therefore, that the allocation of additional funding will be considered for the latter years of the programme, when applications for funding and expenditure traditionally reach their peak.

In response to a Dail question from Fianna Fail Agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue, Mr Coveney said he has no plans to alter delivery structures or partnership arrangements in LEADER.

Last week in the Dail, he said a decision was expected this week by an Independent Selection Committee on what local action group (LAG) will deliver LEADER in West Cork, where competing strategies were submitted by West Cork LCDC and West Cork Development Partnership.

Minister Coveney said funding will be delivered by Avondhu Blackwater as a partner on an Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) led LAG in the North and South Cork areas. 

Discussions on contract and implementation arrangements for these areas are to commence shortly. 

Co Cork has been allocated €6m of LEADER funds.

The first LEADER contracts would issue to LAGs within weeks, said the Minister, in a reply to Billy Kelleher, TD, Fianna Fail.

His Department administers the €250m programme for 2014-2020 to improve quality of life and encourage diversification of economic activity in rural areas.

It includes €15m for two Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine artisan food schemes.

The scheme’s “bottom-up” approach requires local input into LEADER strategy and funding priorities.


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