The new €70 million Transitional LEADER Programme has opened for applications as of today (Thursday, April 1), according to the Irish Local Development Network (ILDN).

LEADER provides rural communities across the European Union with the resources to enable local partners to actively engage and direct the local development of their area, through community-led local development.

Commenting on the opening of the LEADER programme for applications, ILDN CEO Joe Saunders said:

“The opening of the €70 million LEADER Transitional Programme is timely as we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions.

LEADER will give local communities and enterprises an opportunity to respond to the emerging challenges for their areas and will support measures that provide employment and job creation throughout rural Ireland.

“I wish to encourage local communities and businesses to make contact with their Local Development Company to find out what LEADER has to offer.”

Highlighting that the programme supports private enterprises and community groups, Saunders added:

“Funding available will ensure that more vital locally-led projects in areas like climate change, digital transformation, remote working and enterprise development can be progressed in rural communities throughout the country.”

This funding will cover the transition period of 2021 and 2022, between now and the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Originally on a budget of €20 million, an extra €50 million was announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys last month.

The ILDN represent the 35 local development companies who deliver the LEADER Programme in local areas around in the country.