The Leader elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007–2013, RDP, commenced in February 2009 after a delay of more than two years. This reduced the time available to allocate funding to less than five years, rather than the original seven.
Following the reduction of funding available under the programme due to the increased co-funding rate from the European Commission for 2012 and 2013 and the opening of the programme on a "first come first served" basis in 2012, the local development companies, LDCs, were issued with revised programme allocations in May 2013 on the basis of an estimated programme value of €370 million. The final programme value will not be known until the end of 2013 when the precise value of programme expenditure that can be reclaimed from the Commission at 85% can be established. All programme expenditure after the end of 2013 will be refunded at the original co-funding rate of 55%.
Expenditure to date under the programme has been slow, with €19.6 million spent in 2009, €44.2 million in 2010, €47.5 million in 2011 and €53.2 million in 2012. My Department is monitoring commitments and expenditure on an ongoing basis and has given a commitment to examine all unallocated funding at 31 August with a view to reallocating funding to other qualifying projects. The final date for approvals under the programme is December 2013.
The total expenditure to date under the programme is €189 million, which includes administration costs of €42.7 million. The value of outstanding contractual commitments is €101 million, leaving a balance of approximately €80 million to be allocated to new projects and for administration costs. While up to 20% of each LDC’s total programme expenditure can be spent on administration costs, all LDCs have been advised they should aim to spend substantially less than the maximum 20% allowed.
The European Commission has allowed Ireland to spend its programme in line with demand rather than on specific allocations under each measure of the programme. A revised financial plan will be submitted to the Commission by the end of 2013. My Department has requested that all LDCs submit financial plans indicating and detailing their estimated monthly administration and project expenditure in order to conclude the programme during 2014. As soon as these plans can be agreed, the LDC contracts will be extended accordingly.
I propose to circulate in the Official Report a tabular statement setting out the information requested at measure level.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
Table 1: RDP Expenditure Information by Measure