Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Rural and Community Development
Due to the delay at EU level in agreeing the post-2020 EU Budget, my Department developed a transitional LEADER programme to bridge the gap between the end of the 2014-2020 programme and 2023-2027 LEADER programme. In December 2020, I announced details of a Transitional LEADER Programme for the period 2021-2022, with an initial allocation of €20 million, which came into effect on 1 April 2021.
In line with the Government’s ambitious policy for the development of rural Ireland, Our Rural Future, I recently announced an increased allocation of €70 million for the Transitional LEADER programme, which is now EU co-financed. This funding will support locally-led projects which focus on many of the key themes of Our Rural Future such as building capacity and empowering local communities, embracing opportunities in the green economy, supporting remote working and the digital transformation, developing our outdoor amenities and creating jobs in rural areas
As outlined in Our Rural Future, The LEADER programme will play a key role over the lifetime of the policy in enhancing the participation of local communities in shaping their future and building leadership and resilience.
As the Deputy may be aware, LEADER is a multi-annual programme for rural development co-funded by the EU through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The programme is based on a community-led approach to rural development and plays an important role in supporting communities and enterprises in progressing job creation, social inclusion and environmental projects at local level.
Preparations for the design and delivery of the next EU LEADER programme from 2023-2027 are underway. Officials from my Department are currently engaging with stakeholders on the design of the next LEADER programme and are working alongside officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine in developing the next CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027 which LEADER will form part of. It is anticipated that the next CAP and LEADER programme will commence in early 2023.