Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has announced the details of the €180 million LEADER Programme for 2023-2027.
The major investment will support thousands of locally-led rural development and enterprise projects over the next 5 years. This allocation is in addition to the €70 million already provided for LEADER for 2021 and 2022, bringing the total allocation for the seven year LEADER programming period of 2021-2027 to €250 million.
Minister Humphreys published the 2023-2027 funding allocation for each county.
The selection process will be conducted over two stages; the first stage is an ‘Expression of Interest’ by eligible groups followed by a more detailed stage which will see them develop their LEADER strategies.
The first stage of the process was opened by Minister Humphreys.
Making the announcement, Minister Humphreys said, “the LEADER Programme has been integral to delivering locally-led projects that have brought major benefits to communities across Rural Ireland. LEADER operates on a ground-up approach and is all about empowering local communities to deliver projects that will revitalise our towns and villages. Today, I’m pleased to set out the process for selecting groups to deliver the new LEADER programme. The process will be open, transparent and competitive and I am encouraging groups in the private and public sector to work together to achieve the best possible results.”
The Minister announced that interested parties will have until Friday 16 December 2022 to submit their Expression of Interest (Stage 1).
All groups that are successful in Stage 1 will be provided with funding to assist with the costs associated with developing a Local Development Strategy in Stage 2 of the process.
A fund of €2 million has been ring-fenced for this purpose which will commence in early 2023.
Minister Humphreys acknowledged the tremendous work of the Local Action Groups that have successfully delivered the current LEADER programme, stating, “it is now important that the key public and private stakeholders in communities across Ireland come together in partnership to deliver a LEADER programme that will build on the fantastic success of the programme over the last 30 years. By working together, we will ensure that LEADER continues to play a central role in supporting rural communities into the future.”
As part of the new CAP Strategic Plan funding of €180 million has been committed to LEADER for 2023-2027. The Minister also confirmed that all of this funding will be allocated to the Local Action Groups who are appointed to deliver the new programme.
Interested parties can now apply by visiting the department’s website and downloading an application form.