Minister Hogan opens LEADER Village at National Ploughing Championships and meets some inspiring Iri
Today at the National Ploughing Championships, this year taking place in Heathpark, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Minister Phil Hogan was on hand to formally open the LEADER Village.
Brian Carty, Director of ILDN, the event co-organisers, stated that “The LEADER Village has been a significant feature of the National Ploughing Championships for many years now and we thought it was about time to give it the launch that it deserves. We have amazing array of products on offer as usual ranging from the finest in food and craft to tourism and even eco coffins! This year the village is showcasing over 80 Irish enterprises that have been supported by our members delivering the LEADER Programme throughout Ireland.”
Mr. Carty continued “We are also delighted to have the Kiltra Music School here to provide us with music for the opening ceremony. They are an example in themselves of a successful enterprise that has received significant supports from the LEADER Programme through Wexford Local Development.”
During his visit Minister Hogan took a walk around the tent to meet some successful Irish entrepreneurs including designer Sinéad Clarke who is there promoting her creative knitwear range. Sinéad explained to Minister Hogan that “The supports I received from Cavan-Monaghan LEADER were vital in enabling me to attend national and international trade shows where I secured orders from boutiques in many European countries and even further afield in Japan, Russia, USA, Australia and Canada.”
Sinéad is a perfect example of a successful project supported by the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme and shows how innovative, creative and hard working Irish entrepreneurs can go a long way with the right supports from experienced Local Development Company staff delivering the LEADER programme throughout Ireland.
Figures included in the upcoming publication “Follow the LEADER: Paths to Success - LEADER bringing out the best in rural Ireland” reveal that €87 million has been invested into the rural economy through the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme since 2009. This funding has been used to support over 3,320 local enterprises and has delivered impressive results with 1,246 full-time jobs created in rural communities that have been badly affected by the current recession.
The “Follow the LEADER” publication which will be circulated as a free supplement with the Farmers Journal on 13th September provides over 40 examples of some of these successful Irish enterprises and community projects that have been supported by Local Development Companies delivering LEADER throughout Ireland. The funding has supported a range of projects such as farm diversification, rural micro-enterprise, tourism development, provision of basic services for communities, village renewal, heritage conservation and training.
Speaking at the publication launch last Thursday, Minister Hogan noted that “Strong rural economies are critical for economic recovery and initiatives emerging from the community such as those profiled in this document often address a variety of issues that have both a direct and indirect effect on job creation in both rural and urban communities alike.”
Also speaking at the publication launch, Brian Carty, Director of the Irish Local Development Network which commissioned the publication, stated that “This publication has been a labour of love for us – we wanted to show that really positive things are happening in rural Ireland with the help of Local Development Companies. Our member companies are working away on the ground to support entrepreneurs to set up successful local businesses or to help communities deliver projects to improve their local area. We hope that members of the public with a good idea of their own will be inspired to contact their own Local Development Company after reading this publication”
Mairead Lavery, editor of Irish Country Living within the Irish Farmers Journal added, “We’re delighted to have been involved with LEADER in putting this publication together, LEADER makes a real and significant difference in rural Ireland and will continue to do so.”
Marian Vickers, Vice Chairperson of ILDN concluded, “If this document shows one thing – it is that when rural communities are listened to and given the correct supports – they have the innovative ideas and hard work ethic to create jobs and develop their communities”.