Today’s release of €90 million in LEADER funding to local development companies has been welcomed by David Stanton TD. This funding is being made available by the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, under the Rural Development Programme 2007-1013. South and East Cork Area Development (SECAD) are the LEADER group in this area.

“I am very pleased that funding has now been released as I was contacted by quite a number of local people who had applied to SECAD for funding under this scheme and were awaiting a decision. I understand that Minister Hogan has authorised the issuing of contracts for approximately €42 million worth of projects nationwide which have all the necessary approvals in place and that local development companies has two weeks to advise the Department which of the applications they have received are ready to proceed.

An embargo on this funding had been put in place in February this year, by the Department of the Environment due to a change in European Commission funding levels for LEADER projects. This resulted in an overall reduction in available funding from €427m to approximately €314m on the basis of the Programme achieving full spend by the end of 2013.

“Following an examination of projects and funding, Minister Hogan’s Department, €90 million will now be made available for the LEADER projects, which are primarily concerned with the diversification of economic activity in rural areas. Examples of which include support for business creation and development, encouragement of tourism activities, development of services in rural areas such as leisure and training facilities. This funding should not only facilitate access to sustainable employment in communities but also support future business creation and development,” said Deputy Stanton.