Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Questions (390)

Éamon Ó Cuív


390. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if it is planned in the forthcoming round of the Leader Programme 2023-2027 to have a dedicated LAG as before, administering the island Leader programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35071/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

As the Deputy may be aware, LEADER is a multi-annual programme for rural development co-funded by the EU through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The programme is based on a community-led approach to rural development and plays an important role in supporting communities and enterprises in progressing job creation, social inclusion and environmental projects at local level.

Preparations for the design and delivery of the next EU LEADER programme from 2023-2027 are underway. Officials from my Department are currently engaging with stakeholders on the design of the next LEADER programme and are working alongside officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in developing the next CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027, which LEADER will form part of.

The question of the administrative structures for the delivery of the programme, including the structures relating to the islands, will be considered as part of that work, having regard, inter alia, to the provisions of the EU Regulations governing the structure of future Local Action Groups and the outcome of consultations with all relevant stakeholders.

In December last, I announced details of a transitional LEADER Programme which came into effect on 1 April 2021, with an initial allocation of €20 million this year. In line with the Government’s ambitious policy for the development of rural Ireland, Our Rural Future, I recently announced an increased allocation of €70 million for this transitional LEADER programme. The transitional programme will be delivered through the existing Local Action Group and Implementing Partner structures, as it falls to be delivered under the framework applicable to the 2014-2020 LEADER programme.