Kerry leads for LEADER grants
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.