Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (1049)

James Browne

Question:

1049. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the position on the funding of LEADER; the way in which funds are allocated to LEADER; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7196/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

LEADER is a rural development programme co-funded by the EU which operates a locally-led, bottom-up, approach to meeting the needs of local communities and businesses. The programme supports private enterprises and community groups in rural areas.

The 2014-2020 LEADER programme for Ireland had an allocation of €250 million, including a contribution of approx. 63% from the EU. Funding is delivered by 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) in 28 sub-regional areas.

Due to a delay in agreeing the post-2020 EU Budget, the next EU LEADER programme will not commence until 2023. To bridge the gap to the start of the next programme, in December 2020 I announced details of a Transitional LEADER Programme which will come into effect from 1st. April 2021, with an initial allocation of €20 million this year. I also extended the deadline for project approvals under the 2014-2020 programme to 31st. March 2021.

Of the €20 million funding under the Transitional Programme, €15 million is available for new project activity, with €5 million available for the costs of the LAGs associated with administration and project animation.

The distribution of the €20 million to each LAG is based, pro-rata, on the allocations received by each LAG at the outset of the 2014-2020 programme. The allocation of the funding to each LAG is available at: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/c44cc-minister-humphreys-announces-details-of-transitional-leader-programme/.

Additional Administration funding of approximately €7 million is also being provided to the LAGs in 2021 for the on-going management and delivery of the 2014-2020 LEADER projects.