Rural Dublin gets boost at expansion of LEADER Programme

by Gazette Reporter
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Rural Communities and Enterprises in Dublin have received a major boost with the announcement that the geographical area eligible for funding under the LEADER Programme has been significantly expanded.

 LEADER is an EU funded programme administered by Local Action Groups (LAGs) and supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The main aim of LEADER is to strengthen the rural economy and to improve the quality of life in rural areas. LEADER focuses on the key principles of innovation, sustainability, social inclusion and economic viability and fosters links with other organisations.  LEADER makes a significant contribution to sustaining our rural economy, communities, and environment. Economic growth and job creation are essential to the growth of rural areas.

The new areas to be included in the expanded Dublin Rural LEADER Programme are Balbriggan, Skerries. Portmarnock, Dubber, Castleknock-Knockmaroon, Lucan North, Glencullen, and Shankill-Rathmichael.

Laurence Ward, Chairperson of the Dublin Rural LEADER Local Action Group, which oversees the implementation of the funding programme, said there were changes to the eligible LEADER area in Dublin. “We have been working for some time towards expanding the areas that can access LEADER funding and now this has become a reality. I wish to acknowledge the support of my fellow Local Action Group Members from Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, and also the Department of Rural and Community Development in enabling these positive changes to happen.”

Eilish Harrington, Chief Executive of Fingal LEADER Partnership, the Programme’s Implementing Partner said that “Dublin Rural LEADER is thrilled with the amendment of the Geographic Boundaries. LEADER Funding will be able to add tremendous support and value to new Community Groups and Businesses in these areas which were not previously eligible. It’s an exciting time for Rural Dublin and this amendment is much needed and welcomed. My team and I are looking forward to commencing work in the new areas and encourage people/groups/businesses to contact us for further information.”

Emer O’Gorman, Director of Services with Fingal County Council, the LEADER Programme’s Financial Partner, added: “This decision by the Dublin Rural LEADER Local Action Group is very welcome. The inclusion of these new geographical areas provides substantial new funding opportunities to assist local economic recovery in a post COVID-19 environment. I would actively encourage community groups and enterprises in these new areas to consider the LEADER Programme as an option.”

Declan Ryan, Dublin Rural LEADER Local Action Group Manager said: “The timing of this announcement for the LEADER Programme in Dublin is very significant. LEADER looks forward to seeing many new projects with a Community, Enterprise and Environmental emphasis which can add much needed stimulus to local areas after a difficult year.’

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