To clarify for the Deputy, funding is provided for 2021. That assumption is incorrect. There is €44 million in the budget for 2021. That €44 million will be used to fund existing LEADER commitments and provide for a transitional programme. The current LEADER programme comes to an end in December this year, but due to delays in agreeing the Common Agricultural Policy and the budget at EU level, the programme will not commence until 2022 at the earliest.
The Government has committed to prioritising a transitional programme to bridge the gap between the current programme and the next one. The duration of the transitional period at EU level has not been agreed so we are therefore planning that Ireland's transitional programme will run for an initial period of 12 months but with the scope to extend, if necessary, to align with the outcome of the discussions at EU level between the Commission and the Parliament. As EU co-funding may become available for the transitional programme, our intention is that the programme will be subject to the current operating rules for LEADER and the existing LEADER structures will be used for the delivery of the programme. This will involve the continuing role of the current local action groups, LAGs, and the implementing partners in each LEADER area. The transitional programme will provide funding for new projects and for the administration of the programme. The cost of the transitional programme will be managed within the Department's budget. As I said, we have €44 million.
LEADER is a multi-annual programme and payments in respect of projects which are approved in any given year are not generally drawn down until subsequent years. Costs related to projects under the transitional programme in 2021 are therefore likely to be relatively low, but the overall project costs will be met from the provision in my Department's Vote in 2022 and 2023, as required, as well as in 2021.