As already announced, 16 Irish groups have been approved for funding under the LEADER programme, which is the EC's own initiative on rural development. Some £35 million is being provided for the groups — £21 million EC and £14 million Irish — between now and the end of 1993. The groups will be expected to raise a similar amount in matching funds, making a total invest ment of £70 million over the life of the programme.
The essence of LEADER is that while the group are being provided with global grants, the decisions on the investments to be undertaken rest entirely with the groups themselves. Investment in the following activities may be funded: technical support for rural development such as surveys and assessments; vocational training and assistance for recruitment; rural tourism; small firms, crafts and local services; development and marketing of local agricultural, forestry and fishery products and other activities which contribute to the development of the groups' areas.
The selected groups and their approved financial allocations are as follows: