A “disappointing” allocation of 180 million euros to the LEADER program for the period 2023-2027 has been described as “a blow to rural communities”.
The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) representing the 35 LEADER suppliers in the country expressed its “deep disappointment” with the allocation of LEADER 2023-2027 announced today (Wednesday 20 October) as part of the indicative measures of the Common agricultural policy (CAP).
ILDN President Jim Finn said: “This allocation marks a continued decline in support to rural communities through LEADER over successive programs.
“Before 2016, the program exceeded 400 million euros over the budget period. Today’s allocation indicates another devastating reduction in the program over the past decade.
He said that for 30 years LEADER was a “driving force of rural development across Ireland”.
LEADING the “coolness” of communities
“It is extremely disappointing to see how much funding for the program has declined compared to recent programs,” Finn continued.
“LEADER has been the lifeblood of community groups and rural businesses in areas where alternative investments are simply not available.
“Today’s allocation sends a very bad signal to rural communities as they face the challenges of Covid-19 and the climate.”
ILDN calls on Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys to “review CAP allocations to ensure that the LEADER budget is increased over the period 2023-2027”.
CAP funding allocations
A series of new CAP funding allocations were announced earlier today by Minister McConalogue for various agricultural programs agreed under the new CAP Strategic Plan (CSP).
These allocations will form the basis of a public consultation before the formal submission of the CSP to the European Commission next year.
Today’s funding allocation is in addition to the € 70 million previously obtained for the rural development program.
Minister Humphreys said that “the global funding of 250 million euros means that LEADER will continue to benefit rural communities, as it has done for more than three decades”.