County Cork has received the largest allocation of €16.8 million in the next LEADER programme to support locally-led rural development and enterprise projects over the next five years.

A total of €180 million has been allocated across the country for the 2023-2027 LEADER programme.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue’s constituency of Donegal also has one of the largest allocations totalling €10.4 million, while County Louth has the lowest allocation at €4.9 million.

County Cork has received the largest share of the allocation because it includes three regions, North Cork, South Cork and West Cork.

The LEADER programme, which is co-funded by the European Union through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plan, aims to support the “local development of Ireland’s rural areas”.

Thousands of locally-led rural projects to be supported over next 5 years

The next phase of the programme is designed to support “thousands of locally-led rural development and enterprise projects” – these can include job creation, social inclusion and environmental projects – over the next five years.

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, today (Thursday, October 27) published the 2023-2027 funding allocation for each county.

Source: Department of Rural and Community Development

Minister Humphreys said:

“The LEADER Programme has been integral to delivering locally-led projects that have brought major benefits to communities across Rural Ireland.

“LEADER operates on a ground-up approach and is all about empowering local communities to deliver projects that will revitalise our towns and villages.”

Eligible local action groups who want to apply for funding under the programme must go through a two stage selection progress.

Details of the requirements are available on DRCD’s website and the department is also planning to host a webinar for interested groups on November, 10.

The first stage is stage is to lodge an ‘expression of Interest and follow this up with more detailed outline of any LEADER plans.

Any organisation or body that wishes to apply must submit their expressions of interest by December, 16 2022.

All successful groups who get through stage one will receive funding to develop their Leader plans for the second part of the process.

According to DRCD a total €2 million will be made available to groups who want to develop their plans.