Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Rural and Community Development
65. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which she expects the LEADER programme to address the multi-various issues affecting urban and rural communities throughout the country in the coming years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43201/20]
My Department’s mission is to promote rural and community development and support the creation of vibrant and sustainable communities across the country. This mission is delivered through a range of policies, programmes and initiatives, including the LEADER programme which focuses on rural areas.
A feature of the LEADER programme is that it is based on a community-led, bottom-up approach to rural development.
The LEADER Programme is administered nationwide by 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) and supports projects under three themes:
- economic development, enterprise development and job creation,
- social inclusion, and
- rural environment.
As of 13 December 2020, 3,763 core projects with a value of over €149 million had been approved for LEADER funding by the LAGs since 2016.The investment in these projects make a significant contribution to the development of communities across Ireland.
Yesterday I announced the provision of €20 million in funding for a Transitional LEADER Programme to commence in 2021. This funding will bridge a gap between the end of the current LEADER programme this year, and the next EU LEADER programme which will not commence until 2023.
The Transitional Programme will ensure that LEADER will continue to support and revitalise our communities and make them sustainable and desirable places in which to live and work through co-ordinated approaches that build on the economic strengths and infrastructure of rural areas.