Kerry leads for LEADER grants

Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS - Stephen Cado­gan

Kerry leads by a long way in the LEADER ru­ral de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme, with 61 projects val­ued at nearly €1m, out of 265 projects na­tion­ally ap­proved for LEADER fund­ing, with a value of over €6.7m.

How­ever, Water­ford’s nine projects are worth more than €1.26m, and Done­gal’s 32 projects are val­ued at just over €1m, ac­cord­ing to a progress re­port by Ru­ral and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Michael Ring. At the other end of the scale, no project ex­pen­di­ture was yet in­curred in Co Cork up to last week, al­though 416 Ex­pres­sions of In­ter­est have been sub­mit­ted by project pro­mot­ers.

In the 2014-2020 LEADER grant scheme, nearly €14m is al­lo­cated to Co Cork, but so far there has been only ad­min­is­tra­tion and an­i­ma­tion ex­pen­di­ture, to­talling over €820,000. Up to re­cently, no LEADER projects had been ap­proved in Cos Gal­way, Kil­dare, Leitrim, Lim­er­ick, or Wick­low. Else­where In Mun­ster, up to Oc­to­ber, Co Clare had 22 projects ap­proved, val­ued at €417,295, and Tip­per­ary had nine, val­ued at €206,000. Other coun­ties where the ru­ral de­vel­op­ment grant scheme has gone well are Kilkenny (18 projects val­ued at €357,379); Of­faly (23 projects at €266,000); and Sligo (21 projects at €503,000). LEADER is a multi-an­nual EU co-funded pro­gramme to sup­port ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. Ire­land has an al­lo­ca­tion of €250m for 2014-2020, in­clud­ing both na­tional and EU fund­ing. There was no project ex­pen­di­ture on LEADER prior to 2017, but fund­ing was pro­vided to lo­cal ac­tion groups to develop strate­gies. Since June, 2017, the num­ber of LEADER project ap­provals in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. Na­tion­ally, more than 5,000 ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est have been re­ceived.

Fund­ing will be drawn down as projects start to in­cur ex­pen­di­ture and sub­mit pay­ment claims. Up to Septem­ber, project ex­pen­di­ture amount­ing to €132,681 had been drawn down.

Michael Ring, Min­is­ter for Ru­ral and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment.

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