Thursday, 2 June 2022
Department of Rural and Community Development
423. To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will give immediate consideration to implementing a derogation to Section 8.3 of LEADER Operating Rules which explicitly prevents Local Action Groups from awarding an increase in funding to project promoters to enable them to deliver their projects (details supplied) given the soaring costs associated with construction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28550/22]
The LEADER Programme is one of the key interventions of Our Rural Future, the Government’s Policy for rural development launched last year.
LEADER is administered by 29 Local Action Groups (LAGs) which deliver funding in accordance with Local Development Strategies that have been agreed for each LAG area. Each LAG has a defined funding allocation for the duration of the programme. Project applications are made to, and approved by, the relevant LAG in each LEADER area.
In line with the programme operating rules, the LAG may not increase the level of funding in respect of an individual project once that project has been approved. However, with LAG approval, there is scope for flexibility within the LEADER programme that allows the project promotor to modify an element of the project subject to certain limits. The savings achieved by the modification may be used to offset increased costs on another element of the same project.
In addition, my Department will consider requests from Local Action Groups on a case by case basis for a derogation from the pre-set limits outlined in the LEADER Operating Rules where the proposed savings arising from modifications exceeds the limits permitted.