Monday, 14 December 2015

Whats Happening with LEADER 2014-2020 in County Cork

There is some concern in rural communities about LEADER. There has been an embargo imposed on all LEADER project approvals nationally since last January.
Rural Communities are anxiously awaiting news about the 2014 -2020 LEADER Programme and they want to know when funding will start to flow for much needed projects.

WHAT IS the LEADER 2014-2020 Programme ?
LEADER is a community led approach to the delivery of rural development interventions supported by a Local Development Strategy (LDS) and implemented by interested groups of people at a local level called Local Action Groups (LAGs).
In this process members of rural communities are to be given an opportunity to participate in decision making at a local level through the formation of Local Action Groups and they also are given a say in the design and implementation of Local development strategies.
Through these strategies the LAGS determine the needs in a local area and make decisions on what types of investment are best suited to address those needs.

LEADER is jointly funded by the EU and the Irish Government. The LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 will provide financial resources to address poverty reduction, social inclusion and economic development of rural areas over the 2014-2020 programme period.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government will administer the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme for the 2014-2020.


  • Government policy has changed. 

Up to now rural development interventions in Ireland were implemented by 36 local development companies operating as LAG's. The total number of LAG's is to be reduced down to 28 .
LAG's are now  to be based on administrative or county boundaries .
In view of the size of the Cork County Council area (excluding the city) and the fact that there are three administrative areas within the County there will be three LAG areas for County Cork.

These are North Cork, South Cork and West Cork (See Map)
There are currently five local development companies operating in County Cork.  These are:
  • Avondhu/Blackwater Partnership Ltd 
  • Ballyhoura Development Ltd 
  • I.R.D. Duhallow 
  • South & East Cork Area Development Ltd.(
  • West Cork Development Partnership 
 These Local development companies  have been very successful in accessing funding from Europe and  say their model  is highly successful in the delivery of funds on the ground,  They say they have attained status in the EU which allowed them to negotiate additional funding and access other sources of funding. They also say that   the Irish local development companies are seen as a model for other countries in Europe.

  • The amount of money available to LAG's is also greatly reduced.

The LEADER elements of Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 will provide €250 million over the lifetime of the programme. Of this €220 million of this is to be distributed between the 28 LAG  areas.


The 2007 to 2014 Leader programme for Cork county was allocated €49 million, but this has been cut to less than €14 million  for the new programme, a cut of more than 72%. County Cork is to receive €13,938,823.22 to be divided up between North Cork, South Cork and West Cork.
North Cork is to receive just over  €5. million over the lifetime of the programme
South Cork is to receive  €3.8 million over the lifetime of the programme
West Cork to receive just over 5.million over the lifetime of the programme

Who will be the LAG's in County Cork for 2014 - 2020?

In accordance with new legislation Cork County Council has established three Local Community Development Committees LCDCs - in North, South and West Cork. There are 17 - 19 no. members per LCDC with a mix of Public Sector representatives and Private representatives. Private representatives have the majority in each case. (The private representatives also include members (usually the CEO) of the development companies working in the area.)  
All three LCDC's have applied to be the LAG for their respective area. West Cork Development Partnership (West Cork) has also applied to be the LAG for the West Cork Area.

How can community groups and individuals have a say?

South Cork

South Cork LEADER LAG is currently undertaking a comprehensive consultation process, carried out through a variety of media which will invite priority actions, innovative plans and ideas, strategies or observations to be submitted. This is your opportunity to contribute to the development of new Local Development Strategy for the coming LEADER programme.

West Cork
West Cork LCDC
Future Analytics Consulting Ltd has been appointed on behalf of the West Cork (LCDC) LEADER LAG applicant to carry out consultation in relation to the preparation of a Local Development Strategy for West Cork for the period 2015-2020.
Submissions on the West Cork (LCDC) LEADER Local Development Strategy can be made online at

North Cork 

West Cork Development Partnership LEADER LAG applicant is also engaged in a comprehensive consultation process throughout the region. This is being carried out through a variety of media, which will invite priority actions, innovative plans and ideas, strategies or observations to be submitted for consideration for inclusion in the proposed Local Development Strategy.Also, additional information regarding the position in West Cork LCDC:
The following is the current position:
The North Cork Local Development Strategy has been submitted.  The North LEADER LAG (comprising a partnership between the North Cork LCDC and the three Local Development Companies operating in the area i.e Avondhu Blackwater Partnership ltd, IRD Duhallow ltd and Ballyhoura Development ltd),  submitted the North Cork Local Development Strategy in mid-October.  Public consultation meetings and other information events were held in throughout North Cork during the Summer/Autumn which afforded communities the opportunity to contribute to the Strategy’s local objectives and priorities.  The Strategy is now being assessed by the Evaluation Committee and it is envisaged that funding will be made available as soon as possible after the decision of the Committee, which is hoped will be in March 2016.  The North Cork LEADER LAG will be in contact with community groups as soon as more information becomes available.

When will funds be available to local groups?
We are not sure when this will happen or how it will be organised. All three LAG areas are progressing at a different pace and we look forward to hearing from the LAGS as soon as possible as to where how and when community groups can access funding.

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