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. Each LAG has been given a funding allocation for the duration of the programme. Project applications are made to, and approved by, the relevant LAG in each LEADER area.
Payment claims are submitted to my Department by the LAGs when projects are up and running and have incurred expenditure. The approved works must be completed by the project promoter prior to any phased or final payments being made.
Processing times for claims can take an average of 4 to 6 weeks from the point where a claim is submitted by the project promoter through the LAG. Certain checks are required to be carried out by all LAGs prior to the payment claims being submitted to my Department. Claims can only be progressed for payment to my Department once all the regulatory checks have been complied with.
There is no delay in payments being issued by my Department to the LAG for the project once all of the necessary checks have been completed and verified as required.
With regard to the project referred to by the Deputy, I understand that the project is still under construction and that the promoters have submitted a fourth claim for payment to the relevant Local Action Group. This claim is currently undergoing validation.