The Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period 2007-2013 was a key support in enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, achieving more sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring a more balanced development of rural areas.
The Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 is broken down into 5 Axes. The first axis addresses Competitiveness in Agriculture and has spent a total of €336m up to the end of 2013 from a total allocation of €369m.
Axis 2 of the RDP addresses Environment and Land Management objectives. This axis includes measures such as REPS, AEOS, Less Favoured Areas etc. The spend on these measures totals €3,535m until the end of 2013 from a total allocation of €3,620m.
Axes 3 and 4 of the RDP fund measures in the Wider Rural Economy (LEADER measures). These axes are a matter for my colleague Minister Hogan. The spend of these measures totals €244m up to the end of 2013 from a total allocation of €342m.
Finally Axis 5 provides for technical assistance to the RDP. This axis has spent €1.8m up to the end of 2013 from a total of allocation of €4.3m.
Overall, there has been a spend of €4,117m on Rural Development Measures under this programming period, from a total allocation of €4,335m. Under the N+2 rule, Member States have until the end of 2015 to spend monies allocated under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme and spending all available funds will be of upmost importance for my Department.
The achievements made under the last programming period will be built upon for the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme. For the next period, Ireland has been allocated EU funding of €2.19 billion (€313m per annum over 7 years) for a new RDP. Design of the new programme is being progressed by my Department as a matter of priority.