There are 35 Local Development Companies (LDCs) contracted, on my Department’s behalf, to deliver the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) throughout the country. In line with the ‘bottom-up’ approach to rural development the LDCs are the principal decision-makers in relation to the allocation of project funding. Such decisions are made in the context of the local development strategy of the individual groups and in line with Programme’s Operating Rules and EU regulations. My Department only becomes involved in a project once the Board of the LDC has approved it and the Board minutes are submitted to my Department for review.
The only exception to this is the requirement to seek final approval from my department in respect of projects that request funding of €150,000 or more. The assessment of these higher value projects usually involves detailed consultations between my Department and the relevant local development company.
The project referred to in the Question is one such project. The Department has sought further information from the LDC, County Kildare LEADER Partnership, and is awaiting this. Once the outstanding information is received my Department will be in a position to make a final decision.