Under Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP), the LEADER programme will primarily address Priority 6 of the European Union priorities for rural development which is promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.
Preparatory work for the RDP, including the needs analysis processes and the research conducted by CEDRA, the Commission on Economic Development of Rural Areas, present similar areas of need within rural Ireland that could be supported through RDP interventions. These areas include the need to support and enhance national communication initiatives, to improve broadband and communications infrastructure with a particular focus on the needs of rural areas.
In this context my Department held a stakeholders' consultation meeting on the LEADER elements of the Programme on 30 January and will be holding an open public consultation meeting on 6 February in Tullamore. Following these consultations the Programme will be prepared for submission to the European Commission in late Spring.