An extra €50m in funding has been announced for the LEADER programme for 2021 and 2022.

LEADER is a rural development programme co-funded by the EU which operates a locally-led, bottom-up approach to meeting the needs of local communities and businesses.

This brings the total LEADER funding to €70m for the period.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys and Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said that the funding will support rural communities and private enterprises in the recovery from COVID-19.


Minister Humphreys said the funding will give local communities and enterprises an opportunity to respond to the emerging challenges for their areas and will support measures that provide employment and job creation throughout rural Ireland.

“The funding we are announcing today will ensure that more vital locally-led projects in areas like climate change, digital transformation, remote working and enterprise development can be progressed in rural communities throughout the country.”

Specific needs

Minister McConalogue said LEADER is an important element of Ireland’s EU co-funded Rural Development Programme, which forms part of the CAP.

“Through the LEADER programme, over the next two years a total of €70m, of which more than €50m is expected to come from the EU, will be directly invested into rural areas to help address specific needs and help to realise opportunities for rural Ireland as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.”

In the coming weeks, the Department of Rural and Community Development will provide the breakdown of the increased allocation of €70m to each of 29 local action groups which deliver the LEADER programme.