Dáil debates

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Common Agricultural Policy

11:20 am

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I propose to take Questions Nos. 8 and 11 together.

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The LEADER programme is a key intervention implemented by my Department ,which will help to underpin the Government's rural development goals, as outlined in Our Rural Future. The programme is co-funded by the EU under Pillar Il of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is Ireland's managing authority for the CAP and thus has lead responsibility for negotiations of the new policy, which is to be introduced from 2023. My officials are engaging extensively with both the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the EU Commission on the design of a new LEADER programme to form part of the new CAP strategic plan. The EU regulations governing the new CAP state that at least 5.5% of the EU funding available for the CAP strategic plan shall be reserved for LEADER and that the maximum permissible Exchequer co-funding rate for the next LEADER programme will be 80%. On foot of the agreement of the multi-annual financial framework, MFF, with the EU, the total amount of EU funding available for Pillar Il payments across all schemes for the period 2023 to 2027 will be more than €1.5 billion. It is important to me to maintain a significant level of funding for the LEADER Programme, to ensure it can continue to deliver for rural Ireland. In this regard, I secured an additional €70 million in funding for a transitional LEADER programme, which will cover the period to the end of 2022 to ensure that there is no gap between the end of the current programme and start of the next one. The allocations of funding across all the new CAP schemes are currently being finalised, and my Department is in ongoing communication with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to this process. It is expected that indicative scheme allocations, including for the next LEADER programme, will be announced shortly to form the basis for the next stage of stakeholder consultation.


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