THE rural development programme which got under way last February is performing well and will achieve its overall targets, despite delays, according to Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Minister Éamon Ó Cuív.
Funding of €425m is available to qualifying projects up to the end of 2013. The Minister told the Dáil that €2.7m has already been paid out on completed projects, and an estimated further €3m will be paid out on completed projects by the end of 2009. “There is a total of €35.5 million in project activity on hand, and more than €18 million of that is in respect of fully-approved projects,” he said.
Responding to a Dáil question from Deputy Jan O’Sullivan, he gave a breakdown of programme allocations, project commitments and project expenditure for the 36 local action groups contracted to deliver the LEADER elements of the rural development programme (see accompanying table).
* Farmers in north Munster were recently reminded that more than €30m has been ring-fenced in Ireland for diversification into non-agricultural activities in the LEADER Rural Development Programme, and that LEADER groups were ‘open for business’ to help farmers. Thomas Bibby of Ballyhoura Development also announced a training course for farmers in east Limerick and north east Cork who would like to develop business ideas, and said their ideas could win them prizes in the annual JFC innovation awards for rural business, if they enter before the December 11 closing date.
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