Increased EU support for the LEADER Programme

Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys welcomes increased EU support for LEADER Programme

  • €20 million in LEADER funding now available for rural communities and private businesses
  • Funding will help support rural communities and SMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis
  • Big focus on developing the Digital Economy and Remote Working


Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has  (Friday, 30th July) confirmed the details of the final allocation of €20 million in funding through the LEADER Programme for the period 2021-2022.

The allocation is part of the €70 million in funding announced in April, secured by Minister Humphreys, as part of Our Rural Future – the Government’s five year strategy designed support rural communities in their recovering from the impact of COVID-19.

The funding announced will see the development and enhancement of locally and rurally-led projects in areas such as enterprise development, climate change and the green, bio and circular economy.

It will also fund projects that maximise the potential of broadband and the digital economy in communities, with a particular focus on skills development and remote working.

Welcoming the release of the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“As we emerge from the Pandemic, this funding will support rural communities and enterprises across the country to adapt in a post COVID-19 environment.

“As laid out in ‘Our Rural Future’, the Government’s ambitious new policy for the development of Rural Ireland, the LEADER programme will play a key role in ensuring our rural communities are to the fore of our recovery.

“This funding will support locally-led projects and focus on many of the key themes detailed in ‘Our Rural Future’.

“These include embracing opportunities in the green economy, supporting remote working and the digital transformation, developing our outdoor amenities and creating jobs in rural areas.

“I urge all communities and local enterprises who wish to avail of this funding to make contact with their Local Action Group or its Implementing Partner to discuss how the LEADER Programme can assist their plans.”

Contact details for all Local Action Groups and their Implementing Partners (Local Development Companies) can be located here.

The release of this funding is being made following the approval of the European Union’s Recovery Instrument (EURI) which is 100% funded by the EU and will be programmed through Ireland’s Rural Development Programme.

This EURI funding will help support the recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and will assist in paving the way for a resilient, sustainable and digital economic recovery. A total of €20 million of this funding is being allocated to the 29 Local Action Groups who deliver the LEADER programme.

The Department is writing to each of the LAGs and their Implementing Partners today, 30th July 2021, providing detailed guidelines for the EURI funding and the process around utilising the funding.

All projects must be completed before the end of December 2023. Claims for payment in respect of these projects must be submitted to the Department of Rural and Community Development no later than 30th June 2024.

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