The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representing the 35 Local Development Companies (LDCs) who deliver the LEADER Programme nationally, have urged the Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, and the Minister for Rural & Community Development Heather Humphreys TD, to consider availing of the €190 million COVID-19 EU Recovery Instrument available for Rural Development in 2021 & 2022 for the purposes of bolstering the LEADER Programme.

The European Union Recovery Instrument (EURI) is a Fund established by the European Union to support recovery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. €190 million is to be allocated to Ireland from the Instrument over the period 2021-2022 for agriculture and rural development.

ILDN Chairman, Jim Finn said; “The LEADER Programme offers the ideal vehicle for the delivery of this funding to Rural Areas in the most effective manner. By allocating a portion of the EU Recovery funding available to Ireland to the LEADER Programme, the Government can maximise drawdown of the available fund, deliver critical stimulus to Rural areas to help drive the post Covid recovery and meet the expectations of the EU in terms of the requirements of the Recovery Instrument.”

“By fully utilising the funds available under the Recovery Instrument for the purposes of LEADER in 2021/2022, the Government can also maximise the future LEADER programme for the period 2023-2027 thus ensuring a sustainable level of funding for the purposes of Rural development across the decade.”