LEADER is a multi-annual programme for the period 2014-2020 which has a total budget of €250 million over the programming period. LEADER is administered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) which deliver funding in accordance with Local Development Strategies that have been agreed for each LAG area.
€220 million of the available funding has already been allocated to the 28 LEADER sub-regional areas throughout the country. This allocation covers the full duration of the Programme rather than being allocated on an annual basis. This provides greater flexibility to Local Acton Groups in managing their allocation within and between years. The allocation for County Louth for the period of the programme is €6,101,862.
The overall expenditure incurred for Co. Louth under the 2014-2020 LEADER Programme as of 22 February 2018 was €408,782. The figure includes expenditure on Preparatory Support (for the development of a Local Development Strategy for Louth), Administration costs (which includes Animation) and Project Payments.
As of 22 February, 20 projects with a value of over €258,390 had been approved for LEADER funding in Louth. A further 3 projects requesting over €148,230 in funding are at various stages of the approval process. This funding will be drawn down as projects start to incur expenditure and submit payment claims.
I anticipate that there will be a significant increase in project approvals and expenditure over the course of 2018 based on the progress which has been made nationally in approving projects in recent months. My Department has also introduced a number of administrative improvements to the LEADER programme which will also assist LAGs and project promoters in their delivery of the programme.