Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Rural and Community Development

LEADER Programmes Expenditure

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois, Sinn Fein)
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37. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on LEADER and its underspend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43661/19]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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LEADER is a multi-annual programme which has a total budget of €250 million over the period to 2020. 

Total expenditure on LEADER since the programme commenced - effectively in 2016 when the majority of Funding Agreements were signed - amounts to €69.5 million.  This comprises:

- €1.5 million in initial costs incurred by the LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs) to develop their Local Development Strategies.

- €31.9 million in administration costs of the LAGs and the cost of their engagement with communities to generate projects.

- €36.1 million on project expenditure. 

The level of project activity under the LEADER programme has increased significantly over the last year. Over 2,400 projects have now been approved for funding of over €91.8 million.  A further 310 applications, requesting an additional €26.4 million, are at an earlier stage in the approvals process. Project expenditure will increase significantly as these projects are implemented and payments are drawn down. 

In addition, over 100 Food and Co-operation projects have been approved at national level, outside of the core budget available to the LAGs. 

A sum of €30 million was provided for LEADER in my Department's Vote this year.  This level of expenditure has already been reached and I am re-allocating €10 million from savings elsewhere in my Vote to meet the anticipated spend on LEADER this year.  There is, therefore, no underspend on the programme this year and I am confident that all of the funding available under LEADER will be utilised over the remainder of the programming period.


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