Minister announces allocation of an extra £6.4m for rural development


An additional £6.4 million has been allocated to the Leader 2 programme for rural development, it has been announced by the Minister of State for rural development, Mr Noel Davern.

The new allocation brings to almost £94 million the funding which has now been committed to the approved groups throughout the State for the development of their areas.

The programme, which is part of the accompanying measures brought in when the Common Agricultural Policy was reformed in the early 1990s, is co-financed on a 70-30 basis by the European Union and the Exchequer.

Mr Davern said the additional funding was being advanced following a comprehensive review of the programme which had identified savings under some measures and also from amounts available as a result of monetary adjustments and currency fluctuations.

The Minister said there was some concern earlier in the year that all the funding available would not be spent by the groups, but there had been a rapid increase in the momentum under the programme, and the additional money was now justified.

"In fact, demands for additional funding from the groups far exceeded the amount which is now available, and I am satisfied that the groups will make good use of the additional allocations in the year or so remaining during which they can make commitments to local project activity," he said.

The additional funding may be used only where the projects create jobs.

The largest allocations went to the West Cork Leader Co-operative Society Ltd, which received £330,000, and the Tipperary Leader group, which received £320,000.