The selection of LEADER Local Development Strategies, and by inference the selection of LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs), is subject to strict EU Regulatory requirements which mandate a transparent process, open to all interested parties. The Local Development Strategies and LAGs for the 2014-2020 LEADER programme in Ireland were selected by an Independent Selection Committee through a robust process.
Following on from that selection process, two separate models emerged for the delivery of the LEADER programme in Ireland. The first of these models, where some Local Development Companies were successful in being selected as the LEADER Local Action Group, mirrors the approach used in the 2007-2013 programme .
The second model is where the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) were selected as the LAG. Under this model, the Local Development Companies administer much of the programme as Implementing Partners for the LAGs. In both models, therefore, the Local Development Companies continue to be a key point of engagement for potential applicants under the LEADER programme.
While there are some differences in the delivery model between the current LEADER programme and the 2007-2013 programme, the structures which are in place have now bedded-in well and I currently have no plans to revise the process for the allocation of core funding for the 2014-2020 programme. In any event, any proposed changes would have to be agreed with the European Commission.