Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) who represent Ireland’s 49 Local Development Companies and LEADER providers have outlined their priorities from a LEADER perspective to the Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine Charlie McConalogue TD ahead of the forthcoming Budget. ILDN Rural Development/LEADER Chair Éamonn O Reilly and an ILDN delegation met with Minister McConalogue during his recent visit to Kerry to outline the Network’s Pre-Budget asks in terms of LEADER. The ILDN delegation also met with Minister for Education Norma Foley TD.
Commenting on the meeting, ILDN Rural Development/LEADER Chair Éamonn O’Reilly said; “it was important to meet with Minister McConalogue who has primary responsibility for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) which funds the LEADER Programme. The next EU LEADER programme will not commence until 2023. To bridge the gap to the start of the next programme a Transitional LEADER Programme has come into effect with a Budget of €70 million to the end of 2022. To date demand under this Programme is high. ILDN are calling for supplementary exchequer funding for the Transition Programme for 2022.
“We pointed out to the Minister that the LEADER Programme offers the ideal vehicle for the delivery of development funding to Rural Areas in the most effective manner. Community-Led Local Development acts at European level as a multi -fund approach – that is that by joining different funding programmes and instruments you can achieve greater results. We believe that there is merit in the adaptation of a CLLD//Multi fund approach through LEADER to ensure rural communities’ benefit from all available EU and State supports.
“Preparations for the next LEADER Programme 2023-2027 are reaching an advanced stage. We believe that Budget 2022 must set out the Government’s ambitions for the next LEADER Programme. It is critical that Government allocates the maximum percentage allowable of exchequer co-funding for the purposes of LEADER 2023-2027 while availing of the maximum drawdown from the EAFRD.”
O’Reilly concluded “The ILDN are also seeking implementation of the Programme for Government commitment to deliver LEADER through Independent Local Action Groups supported by Local Community Development Committees.”
The ILDN delegation which included Noel Spillane, CEO of South Kerry Development Partnership (SKDP), John Stack, NEWKD Chairperson and Cllr. Michael Cahill, SKDP Chairperson also took the opportunity to outline ILDN Pre-Budget priorities relating to the Rural Social Scheme, Social Farming, the EIP Agri-Environment Scheme, and the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.