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Rural Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 30 September 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Questions (400)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

400. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some local development companies will run out of Leader funding under the transitional programme by January 2022; if additional funding will be made available for Leader; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47296/21]

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Written answers (Question to Rural)

In line with a commitment in the government’s new rural development policy, Our Rural Future, I announced details of a €70 million Transitional LEADER programme which came into effect last April and will cover the period 2021 – 2022, with a successor programme to commence in 2023.

This funding will support locally-led projects which focus on many of the key themes of Our Rural Future such as building capacity and empowering local communities, embracing opportunities in the green economy, supporting remote working and the digital transformation, developing our outdoor amenities and creating jobs in rural areas

As outlined in Our Rural Future, The LEADER programme will play a key role over the lifetime of the policy in enhancing the participation of local communities in shaping their future and building leadership and resilience.

€65 million of this budget is available to Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver the programme and approve projects at local level.  This allocation covers both core project expenditure as well as the administration and animation costs of the LAGs. The division of the administration and animation funding between the LAGs and its Local Development Companies is a matter for each individual LAG.

A further €3 million of the funding is being allocated to support cooperation projects and innovation between LAGs, while the remaining €2 million is being provided to provide preparatory support for the next LEADER programme. Further funding opportunities under the LEADER Food Initiative remain in place until the entirety of funds are exhausted.

In the event that a LAG fully utilises their allocation of administration funding, they can avail of a maximum monthly contribution that will be Exchequer funded and will be available to them to the end of 2022.

All LEADER project funding must be allocated by the LAGs before the end of December 2022, with final claims for payment submitted to my Department by June 2024.

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