Details of the final allocation of €20 million in funding through the LEADER Programme for the period 2021-2022 have been revealed by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.

Confirming the news today (Friday, July 30), the minister said the allocation is part of the €70 million in funding announced in April, secured as part of Our Rural Future – the government’s five-year strategy designed to support rural communities in their recovery 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:

“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,” the minister said.

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 (LAGs) who deliver the LEADER programme.

The Department of Rural and Community Development is writing to each of the LAGs and their implementing partners today 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 June 30, 2024.

Contact details for all local action groups and their implementing partners (local development companies) can be located here.