The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, today announced that over 500 projects have been fully approved for LEADER funding across the country. This represents significant progress under the programme in the last number of months since the Minister introduced fundamental changes to the way the scheme is delivered. In total there are now 531 projects approved for LEADER funding of over €14 million. This compares to 45 projects approved in the first half of the year. LEADER is a key programme for delivery under the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development.
Minister Ring said “I am delighted to see that the LEADER project approval process is now working more effectively and that almost 100 projects are being approved each month. There was a slow start to the new programme as new systems were put in place. However, the changes I have introduced to simplify the project approval process are beginning to take effect and I expect that these changes will have an even bigger impact in 2018.
“I want to commend the Local Action Groups, Local Authorities and Local Development Companies for their positive engagement in recent months and for their suggestions as to how the procedures could be simplified. My Department is committed to delivering on their suggestions – 31 Actions in total – and the majority of these have already been implemented.
The list of approved projects clearly demonstrates the strength of LEADER in addressing diverse rural needs and supporting both large and small projects. This is evident in the variety of projects approved in recent weeks which include €150,000 to develop a specialised Cheese Dairy at Bó Rua Farm, Ballynoe, Co. Cork, €22,000 for a caravan and glamping park near Brandon Hill in Kilkenny, €41,000 for an extension to the facilities used by the Scout Troop in Dungarvan and €39,000 for Blackcastle Theatre Company Limited in Tipperary to provide a facility for the delivery of drama and confidence building workshops for young people.
I was especially pleased to note that the 500th project approved was for the New Ross Men’s Shed which was allocated over €60,000 by the Wexford LEADER Local Action Group for the construction of new facilities to meet their expanding needs. The contribution which Men’s Sheds have made to the health and well-being of men across Ireland in a short space of time is remarkable and I’m glad to see LEADER making a contribution to their success”.
The Minister added, “while I am pleased with the progress in approving LEADER projects, I will be pushing the Local Action Groups and their partners to step up the pace of approvals further in 2018. This will be particularly important in the case in those Local Action Groups with low levels of approvals relative to their counterparts. I am delivering on my commitment to simplify the LEADER programme for project applicants and for Local Action Groups, and I want to see the benefits of these changes having an impact across every area of the country in 2018”.
Note to Editors:
The details of all 531 projects approved for LEADER funding by 30th November 2017 can be found at the following link: List of approved projects for LEADER 2014-2020 November 2017. These are projects that have been selected by the Local Action Groups and where all of the necessary checks have been fully completed. Further information regarding the approved projects referenced below can be obtained from the Local Action Group in each area.
LEADER is a key component of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. It will provide funding of €250 million to enterprises and community groups throughout rural Ireland for projects that are selected by Local Action Groups (LAGs). The LAGs are made up of local representatives from both the public and private sector.
Funding is targeted at the priority areas identified in the Local Development Strategies developed by each LAG. These priorities come under the following themes:
- Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation
- Social Inclusion
- Rural Environment
Businesses and Communities interested in accessing assistance under the LEADER Programme should, in the first instance, contact their Local Action Group (LAG). Further information regarding approved projects can be obtained from the Local Action Group in each area.
Contact details for all LAGs are available at the following link: List of LAGs.