The current LEADER programme effectively became operational in the second half of 2016, following the signing of Funding Agreements with most of the Local Action Groups (LAGs) which administer the programme and approve projects at a local level.
At the end of June 2019, 2,130 projects had been approved for LEADER funding of over €75 million since the commencement of the programme. A further 370 LEADER projects seeking funding of more than €27 million were at earlier stages of the approvals process. These figures have increased slightly since the end of June.
There were also close to 100 other LEADER Food and Co-operation projects approved for funding outside of the core budget available to the LAGs.
Overall, expenditure on the LEADER programme to end of June was over €53.4 million. This expenditure includes both project costs and the costs of the Local Action Groups who administer the programme and work with promoters to develop projects. Project expenditure will increase significantly this year as the works under the approved projects are completed and claims are submitted for payment.
The level of project approvals and the increase in expenditure since the start of 2018 shows that we are now making good progress in the delivery of the LEADER programme. However, I will continue to monitor the programme carefully to ensure that the budget available is fully utilised.