WCD has called on both the Minister for Environment, Community & Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Simon Coveney, to secure 10% of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) budget for LEADER.
Chairman Dermot Leavy, said "The current LEADER programme has been shown to be very successful in supporting rural communities and enterprises, successfully committing to €370m budget in full to projects by the end of last year. In fact many more projects remain in the pipeline as there were not enough funds available to commit to them."
He said that it is important that the momentum demonstrated by LEADER is not lost as the current LEADER programme finishes at the end of 2014. The EU have made advance funding available to Member States to facilitate planning by the LEADER groups for the next LEADER programme, which start early in 2015.
"We are aware that the next round of funding will be less than the current programme. However, if the government matches EU's commitment of funding 50:50, then LDC's are confident that 10% RDP budget will ensure a reasonable level of funding for rural communities for the 2014-2020 period and will build on the successes of LEADER over the last 20 years" said Mr Leavey.