Thursday, 18 April 2013

Questions (183, 188)

Pat Deering

Question:

183. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there is enough funding allocated to support all projects announced for LEADER funding. [18080/13]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

188. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when permission will be given to the local integrated LEADER companies to sanction projects again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18155/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 188 together.

In late 2011 the European Commission approved a change in the maximum co-funding rate from 55% to 85% for the Axes 3 and 4 elements (LEADER) of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013. Prior to this the LEADER elements were co-funded at a rate of 55% by the EU, with the remaining 45% coming from national exchequer sources. The 2011 agreement reduced the national exchequer input to 15% on a net basis for 2012 and 2013 without a concomitant increase in the amount of funding to be provided by the EU. This resulted in a reduction in the overall Programme complement from €427m to approximately €314m on the basis of the Programme achieving full spend by the end of 2013.

However, given the levels of spending by the Local Development Companies (LDCs) from 2009 to date, it is very unlikely that full spend will be achieved by the end of 2013, at which time the co-funding rate will revert to 55% for all expenditure beyond that date. As a consequence of this the overall Programme requirement will change. In the context of these changes to the co-funding rate the original project allocations given to each LDC contracted to deliver the LEADER elements of the RDP require readjustment.

An exercise is currently being carried out to determine the level of project commitments across all LDCs and all RDP measures in order to rebalance the programme in as equitable a way as possible.  This exercise is close to completion and the Department will be in touch with the LDCs shortly.