Thursday, 14 October 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
I thank the Deputy for the question. The LEADER programme, as the Deputy knows, will continue to be a key component of the new Common Agricultural Policy from 2023. I am committed to ensuring the programme continues to play a central role in delivering on the Government's vision for rural Ireland, as set out in Our Rural Future. Indeed, the extensive public consultation undertaken by my Department in the preparation of Our Rural Future clearly highlighted the vital role LEADER continues to play.
My Department continues to engage extensively with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as the managing authority for the new CAP, as well as with the EU Commission, on the development of the new CAP strategic plan. My officials have also engaged extensively with the Irish Local Development Network, ILDN, and other stakeholders, such as the Local Government Management Agency, in the design of the next LEADER programme. I have also agreed to having regular meetings with the ILDN on a range of issues. I will continue to keep that channel of communication open.
It is essential the new CAP and LEADER programme is firmly rooted in stakeholder consultation. To that end, I recently initiated an external review of the current LEADER programme, which has involved extensive engagement with stakeholders. The outcome of this review will help to inform the design of the new LEADER programme. I expect to receive a report in this regard in the coming weeks. The agreement of a new CAP strategic plan and a new LEADER programme from 2023 remains a key priority. Ongoing stakeholder consultation will remain central to this process.