Donegal groups expected to look for a slice of €70 million LEADER funding

Allocation increases by €50m following EU support - big boost ffor rural communities and enterprises

Donegal groups expected to look for a slice of €70 million LEADER funding

Donegal groups hope they will be in the running for a slice of the €70 million LEADER funding that will come on stream over the not too distant future.

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, have announced the allocation of €70 million through the LEADER programme for the period 2021-2022.

The Government has begun the process of submitting an amendment to the European Commission to extend the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme, under which LEADER is funded, out to the end of 2022.

As part of that process, the LEADER Programme will be allocated a total of €70 million for 2021-2022, adding an extra €50 million to the initial funding of €20 million announced by Minister Humphreys in December 2020.

Minister Humphreys and Minister McConalogue today said that the funding will support rural communities and private enterprises in the recovery of Covid-19.

Minister McConalogue said LEADER is an important element of Ireland’s EU co-funded Rural Development Programme, which forms part of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).

“Through the LEADER programme, over the next two years a total of €70 million, of which more than €50 million is expected to come from the EU, will be directly invested into rural areas to help address specific needs and help to realise opportunities for rural Ireland as we recover from the impact of Covid-19,” he said.

Hi sparty colleague, Cllr patrick McGowan added he was delighted with the news saying the Donegal LEADER uptake had always proven very beneficial and positive to dozens of groups and community organisations right throughout the county.

Cllr McGowan, a Donegal Local Development Company board member, added in previous allocations these groups always rose to the challenge of spending the money allocated and indeed in some cases went back looking for more.

"I am hoping this is recognised at department level when allocations are being made and Donegal get's full use of the money coming from LEADER to continue the great work that this source of funding has helped to build."

He added the funding announced today will ensure that more vital locally-led projects in areas like climate change, digital transformation, remote working and enterprise development can be progressed in rural communities throughout the country.

In the coming weeks, the Department of Rural and Community Development will provide the breakdown of the increased allocation of €70 million to each of 29 Local Action Groups who deliver the LEADER Programme.

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