Written answers

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

Rural Development Programme Funding

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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1108. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the financial allocations on an annual basis under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 per measure 19 support for LEADER local development; the annual amount expended on the programme in each year of the programme up to 31 December 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3902/20]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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LEADER, which is referred to at EU level as Measure 19 of the Rural Development Programme, has a total budget of €250 million over the period 2014-2020. 

€225 million of this budget is allocated as core funding to Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver the programme and approve projects at local level. This includes €5 million in additional funding I allocated to the top 10 performing LAGs in 2019. The balance of €25 million is provided for thematic projects which are approved at national level. 

The funding which has been allocated to the LAGs is provided for the duration of the LEADER programme, rather than on an annual basis. This provides greater flexibility to the LAGs in managing their resources.

Table 1 outlines the overall expenditure incurred each year to date under the programme.  The figures reflect expenditure from the LAGs' core funding as well as expenditure under the national thematic schemes.  Expenditure includes the initial costs incurred by the LAGs in developing their Local Development Strategies in the early years of the programme, LAG administration costs and the cost of their engagement with communities to generate projects, as well as project expenditure itself.

Expenditure and project approvals under LEADER have increased significantly in recent years.  At the start of March 2020, a total of 2,771 projects were approved by the LAGs for core funding of over €107 million. A further 317 core projects with a combined value of almost €26 million were at earlier stages of the approvals process.

In addition, over 100Food and Co-operation projects have been approved at national level under the thematic schemes referred to above.

Over 40% of approved projects are now complete and have received a Final Payment in respect of their project.

Table 1: LEADER 2014-2020 Expenditure broken down per year as of 2 March 2020

Total Programme Expenditure per year
Year Expenditure
2015 €1,251,185
2016 €1,260,921
2017 €12,123,851
2018 €22,983,713
2019 €42,307,596
2020 €7,519,975
Total €87,447,240


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