Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan has released €90 million LEADER funding as part of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
The announcement has been welcomed locally by Minister of State Michael Ring.
Minister Phil Hogan explained why the funding has been released: “I am pleased to announce that following a thorough examination of project activity at all stages in the local development companies I can now release €90 million funding for the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme. This funding has the capacity, not only to facilitate access to sustainable employment opportunities in rural areas but also to help support sustainable communities and enhance rural economies for business creation and development into the future.
“In late 2011 the European Commission approved a change in the maximum co-funding rate from 55 per cent to 85 per cent for the LEADER elements of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme. While this was indeed welcome, especially as it reduced the overall contribution of the exchequer to the programme in relative terms, it also meant a net reduction in the overall budget, as the actual cash contribution from the Commission will not increase. It was therefore necessary in February 2013 for the Department to place an embargo on project approvals as these changes meant that the original project allocations given to each local development company (LDC ) required readjustment.”
According to Minister Ring the issuing of €42 million worth of contracts for projects has been authorised.