For Oral Answer on : 27/10/2022
Question Number(s): 110 Question Reference(s): 53408/22
Department: Rural and Community Development
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Rural and Community Development if she will consider treating Cork County as three separate entities for the purposes of funding under the 2023-2027 LEADER Programme following the establishment of three standalone Local Community Development Committees for the Cork County Council administrative area under the Local Government (Reform) Act 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The LEADER Programme is a key intervention of Our Rural Future, the Government’s Policy for rural development for the period 2021-2025, which aims to deliver a range of actions to rural communities over the lifetime of the policy.
€250m has been made available for LEADER for the period 2021 to 2027. This is comprised of €70 million for the transitional period 2021 to 2022 and an additional €180 million from 2023 to 2027, thus maintaining the level of funding provided for the 2014-2020 programming period. The maintenance of the €250m funding allocation will underpin the continued contribution of the LEADER approach in delivering on the Government’s vision for Rural Ireland.
I am very happy to confirm that the Expression of Interest stage to select the Groups to deliver the next LEADER programme is now open. The process of selecting the LEADER groups will be open, transparent and competitive. The allocations for each LEADER area have also been announced as part of this process.
Importantly, all of the €180m for the will be allocated up front to LEADER areas. This is a change from the current programme where €30m was withheld to fund initiatives delivered at a national level such as the Food Initiative and Cooperation Measure.
A number of factors were considered when deciding on the funding allocations. These included providing a minimum allocation of €3 million to each sub-regional area with the remaining funding distributed based on the population and deprivation level of the area. This ensures that funding is targeted at those most in need of LEADER support.
I am pleased to confirm that the distribution of the funding recognises that County Cork is comprised of three sub-regional areas and has been allocated €16.8m for the 2023-2027 period. When taken in conjunction with the transitional funding for Cork in 2021 and 2022, this gives a total LEADER allocation of €20.9m for Cork for the 2021-2027 period. For the corresponding 7 year period of 2014-2020, County Cork had a core programme funding allocation of €13.9m, when funding received under nationally delivered initiatives is excluded.
The overall Cork allocation will be broken down between the three constituent sub-regional areas shortly.
I look forward to the implementation of the new LEADER programme and to ensuring that LEADER can continue to deliver real benefits to rural communities across Ireland.