Polish visit EU backed projects

A HIGH-POWERED political delegation from Poland is on a fact-finding mission to east Cork to see how an EU-backed rural investment programme has created jobs and industry.

Ironically, the tour to see the positive effects of the LEADER programme comes just weeks after An Bórd Snip Nua recommended that it is axed. The group is from the Mazovia region, which has a population of more than five million, and includes Radoslaw Rybicki, the director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Edward Trojanowski, president of the Zegrzynski Lake Partnership, and secretary of the National Union of Rural Communes in Poland.

Two regional town mayors, Mariusz Bieniek and Jozef Zajac, are also visiting.

They want to see how the South and East Cork Area Development Ltd (SECAD) implemented the LEADER programme in its area. The programme has been in place for more than 15 years and is delivered by over 2,500 groups across the EU. A total of 38 Irish companies deliver the project here. Their success led to a 300% increase in funding last year to an incredible €425 million for the next six years.

The Polish delegation will visit a range of LEADER-backed projects including the agri-tourism project at Dungourney Open Farm, and a small enterprise project like Green Saffron.

A SECAD spokesman said the overall aim is to broaden the relationship with the Mazovia region and to look for opportunities that can assist future employment, enterprise linkage and potential enterprise creation in south and east Cork as a result of this work.

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