Minister Hogan releases €90 million funding under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D, today (24 April 2013), announced the release of €90 million funding for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
Minister Hogan said “I am pleased to announce that following a thorough examination of project activity at all stages in the Local Development Companies that I can now release €90 million funding for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme. This funding has the capacity, not only to facilitate access to sustainable employment opportunities in rural areas but also to help support sustainable communities and enhance rural economies for business creation and development into the future.”
In late 2011 the European Commission approved a change in the maximum co-funding rate from 55% to 85% for the LEADER elements of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme. While this was indeed welcome, especially as it reduced the overall contribution of the Exchequer to the Programme in relative terms, it also meant a net reduction in the overall budget, as the actual cash contribution from the Commission will not increase.. It was therefore necessary in February 2013 for the Department to place an embargo on project approvals as these changes meant that the original project allocations given to each Local Development Company (LDC) required readjustment.
Minister Hogan said “My Department has now completed the rebalancing exercise and I am authorising the issuing of contracts for approximately €42 million worth of projects which have all the necessary approvals in place”.
In making this announcement the Minister said ‘I have given two weeks to the Local Development Companies to let my Department know whether all of these €42m worth of projects are ready to proceed or not. Once this is complete my Department will then be in a position to establish the remaining balance of funding in the Programme and will notify each Local Development Company of their allocation to the end of the Programme. I also want each Company to examine all project applications it has received and to ensure that only the best projects with the highest impact are funded. It is imperative that the best value possible is achieved from every last euro.”
The broad objectives of the LEADER Axes (Axes 3 & 4) of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 are to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to encourage diversification of economic activity in rural areas including supports for non-agricultural activities.
Axes 1 and 2 of the Programme cover a range of on-farm support measures, including REPs and Farm Waste Management and are administered by Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The LEADER Axes measures under the Programme are:
• Diversification into non-agricultural activities for farm families e.g. Development of niche tourism and educational services such as arts and crafts, open farms etc.
• Support for business creation and development. Support to start a new business or expand an existing enterprise including the adoption of new technologies.
• Encouragement of tourism activities e.g. Maintenance of vernacular features in a way that protects the heritage of the features such as disused railway lines and canal towpaths.
• Basic services for the economy and rural population e.g. Identification and provision of appropriate cultural and leisure facilities to local communities, not otherwise available to them.
• Village renewal and development e.g. Farmers Markets
• Conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage e.g. Alternative or renewable energy actions addressing suitability of new technologies to meet community energy needs.
• Training and information on adapted and new skills e.g. Development of training facilities in rural areas (fixed or mobile)
• Implementing co-operation projects
• Skills acquisition and animation
As a result of the increase in the European Commission’s co-financing rate from 55% to 85% for 2012 and 2013, the overall Programme complement reduced from €427m to approximately €314m on the basis of the Programme achieving full spend by the end of 2013.
The co-funding rate will revert to 55% for all expenditure beyond the end of 2013 and as a consequence of this the overall Programme requirement will again change.
The 35 Local Action Groups/Local Development Companies who are contracted by the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government to deliver LEADER elements of the RDP are:
• Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership Ltd (Cork East)
• Ballyhoura Development Ltd (Limerick East and North Cork)
• Carlow County Development Partnership Ltd
• Cavan & Monaghan Partnerships
• Clare Local Development Company Ltd.
• Comhar na nOileáin Teoranta
• Donegal Local Development Company Ltd.
• Fingal LEADER Partnership (Rural Dublin)
• Forum Connemara
• Galway Rural Development Community Ltd.
• Inishowen Development Partnership (Donegal)
• I.R.D. Duhallow (Cork North-West & Kerry South-East)
• Kildare (Cill Dara ar Aghaidh Teoranta)
• County Kilkenny LEADER Partnership Ltd
• Laois Community & Enterprise Development Company Ltd.
• Leitrim Integrated Development Company
• Longford Community Resources Ltd.
• Louth LEADER Partnership
• Mayo North East LEADER Partnership Company Teoranta
• Meath Partnership
• North & East Kerry LEADER Partnership Teoranta
• North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company
• Offaly Integrated Local Development Company
• Roscommon Integrated Development Company
• County Sligo LEADER Partnership Company
• South & East Cork Area Development Ltd.
• South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd.
• South Tipperary Local Development Company Ltd.
• South West Mayo Development Company Ltd.
• Waterford LEADER Partnership Ltd.
• West Cork Development Partnership
• West Limerick Resources
• Westmeath Community Development
• Wexford Local Development
• County Wicklow Partnership