I am very critical of the Government’s failure to deliver LEADER funding for 2021.
“The LEADER programme supports thousands of jobs in rural Ireland and provides critical financial supports in the areas of rural tourism, enterprise development, rural youth services, broadband provision, local biodiversity, renewable energy, the sustainable use of water and the delivery of basic services targeted at hard to reach rural areas”.
“Budget 2021 has failed to provide funding for a new LEADER projects in 2021, Furthermore, no plan is in place or announced for the period 2021 – 2023 as committed in the programme for Government and no funding has been identified in the budget for the administration of the scheme for 2021.There is no new fund for new project allocations in 2021”.
This is leaving a huge void in the development of rural and community projects throughout the country. The next programme will not be operational till 2023 leaving a two-year gap in funding.
“At this time, where we are talking about stimulating the economy, it is imperative that we continue to support rural development but in reality, the opposite is the case”.
“I am calling on the Government to put a transition fund in place to bridge the funding gap for 2021 and 2022”.
“The new LEADER Programme is not possible to put in place until such time that the EU regulations underpinning the transitionary phase of the Common Agricultural Policy (which funds LEADER) is finalised. We must fund the LEADER Programme in the interim in the same way as we are funding all the other schemes under the CAP by the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine during the interim phase”.