Fine Gael TD for Mayo, John O’Mahony, has welcomed the reintroduction of the maximum grant aid of €500,000 for community projects under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme (RDP ). The news was announced this week by Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan.
“I warmly welcome this announcement which represents great news for community groups around the country. The reinstatement of the €500,000 maximum grant amount for community projects under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme will support non-commercial community projects with a particular focus on infrastructure.
“The EU co-funded rural development programme is aimed at improving the quality of life and supporting the diversification of economic activity in rural areas. In excess of €300 million will be spent on the programme and will stimulate and develop local communities.
“Over €100 million has been made available by the EU for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme. Almost €50 million will go towards basic services for the economy and rural population while over €54 million has been made available for village renewal and development. These funds will provide support for non-commercial community based projects and focus particularly on community infrastructure.
“As Minister Hogan pointed out, it had been necessary, due to State aid limits, for the Department for the Environment, to undertake a notification process with the European Commission to obtain approval to fund community projects over and above the State Aid limit of €200,000. The EC has agreed that the aid delivered is not State Aid, therefore allowing the reinstatement of the €500,000 maximum grant for community projects.
“I encourage community groups around the country to apply for funding for this scheme. Judging by the track record of the scheme, I have no doubt that it will continue to be of significant benefit to communities around the country.”