€5.8 million for Longford rural development and enterprise projects over the next five years

Longford will receive a €5.8 million investment that will support thousands of locally run rural development and business projects over the next five years.

Rural and Community Development Minister Heather Humphreys TD today announced details of the €180 million LEADER program for 2023-2027 and released the funding allocation for each county.

Longford received €5.8 million with the allocation for neighboring counties as follows; Cavan €6.4m, Leitrim €6.3m, Roscommon €6.8m and Westmeath €5.7m.

This allocation is in addition to the €70 million already planned for LEADER for 2021 and 2022, bringing the total allocation for the seven-year LEADER programming period 2021-2027 to €250 million.

The selection process will take place in two stages; the first stage is an ‘expression of interest’ by eligible groups followed by a more detailed stage which will see them develop their LEADER strategies.

The first stage of the process was opened today by Minister Humphreys.

In making the announcement, Minister Humphreys said: “The LEADER program has been instrumental in delivering locally driven projects that have brought major benefits to communities across rural Ireland.

“LEADER operates on a bottom-up approach and aims to empower local communities to deliver projects that will revitalize our towns and villages.

“Today, I am pleased to present to you the process of selecting groups to implement the new LEADER program.

“The process will be open, transparent and competitive and I encourage private and public sector groups to work together to achieve the best possible results.”

The Minister announced that interested parties will have until Friday, December 16, 2022 to submit their expressions of interest (stage 1).

All groups that pass Stage 1 will receive funding to help with the costs associated with developing a local development strategy in Stage 2 of the process.

A fund of 2 million euros has been reserved for this purpose, which will start at the beginning of 2023.

Minister Humphreys acknowledged the hard work of the local action groups who have successfully implemented the current LEADER programme, saying: “It is now important that key public and private stakeholders in communities across Ireland come together in partnership to implement a LEADER program that will build on the program’s fantastic success over the past 30 years.

“Working together, we will ensure that LEADER continues to play a central role in supporting rural communities in the future.”

As part of the new CAP strategic plan, funding of €180 million has been committed for LEADER for 2023-2027. The minister also confirmed that all of this funding will be allocated to local action groups that are appointed to implement the new program.

Interested persons can now apply by visiting the Department’s website and downloading an application form via the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/service/87e09-leader-programme-for-rural-development/

Completed expressions of interest forms should be submitted by email only to [email protected] no later than 5.30pm on Friday 16th December 2022.

The Ministry of Rural and Community Development will host an informational webinar for all interested parties on November 10, 2022.

Registration for this event is available here

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