Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representing Ireland’s LEADER providers have called for a reversal to successive cuts to Rural Development funding under the LEADER Programme since 2007.


Commenting ahead of the closure of the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine’s Public Consultation on the draft CAP Strategic Plan, ILDN Chairman Jim Finn said; “we are calling for the allocation of a sustainable minimum of €389 million (€77.8 million annual average) for the LEADER Programme 2023-2027 to drive ‘bottom-up, community-led’ investment to create and maintain enterprise in rural Ireland, to enhance the rural environment and support climate change mitigation initiatives in rural communities. The proposed Budget of €36 million per year to 2027 down from €50 million annually from 2016 to 2020 comes as a major blow to Rural Communities.”


Mr Finn continued “Representing 1.8% of Ireland’s total CAP Budget, an indicative Budget of €180 million has been allocated for LEADER 2023-2027.  The Budget for the 2007-2013 Programme stood at €425 million (€85 million annual average) with the successor Programme that operated from mid-2016 to 2020 reduced to €250 million (€50 million annual average).  This marks a significant downgrading of the LEADER Programme and Rural investment over successive programming periods. 


“The continued erosion of the LEADER Budget will deprive rural communities of critical capacity building supports and funding for vital enterprise, tourism, and community-led development (more than 5,000 projects supported in the most recent Programme period).”


The ILDN Submission can be read here