Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Rural and Community Development

LEADER Programmes

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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27. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of funding for organisations (details supplied); if transitionary funding is coming from her Department as previously outlined to allow applications proceed ahead of their respective EU allocations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43722/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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As the Deputy is aware, due to delays at EU level, there will be a delay between the end of the current LEADER programme, which was due to conclude at the end of this year, and the next EU programme which will not now commence until 2023. The Programme for Government includes a commitment to introduce a transitional LEADER programme to bridge that gap.

Yesterday, I announced details of the Transitional LEADER Programme, which will come into effect from 1stApril 2021 for new project approvals. Local Action Groups (LAGs), who deliver the LEADER programme at ground level, can work on identifying potential projects from 1stJanuary next.

I also announced some flexibilities to the current LEADER programme, including extending the deadline for commitments to the end of March 2021 to facilitate the full allocation of the funds available.

There is still a lack of clarity concerning the availability of EU co-funding during the transitional period between the current LEADER programme and the next EU framework for LEADER. I have therefore provided an initial allocation of €20 million from the Exchequer for the Transitional LEADER Programme.

This allocation will fund both new project applications and the administration and animation costs of the LAGs. I have also undertaken to review the funding situation when the issue of EU co-financing for the transitional period is clarified.

My Department has written to all of the Local Action Groups, providing a detailed outline of the Transitional Programme, including their respective financial allocations.

In addition to providing funding for the Transitional LEADER Programme, a further €7 million will be provided to the Local Action Groups in 2021 for the on-going management and delivery of projects still running under the 2014-2020 LEADER programme.


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