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What is LEADER?
Since its launch in 1991, LEADER has provided rural communities across the European Union with the resources to enable local partners to actively engage and direct the local development of their area, through community-led local development.

Decisions on LEADER funding are made at a local level by a Local Action Group through the framework of a Local Development Strategy (LDS). A Local Action Group is made up of people from the local community as well as from the local public and private sector. The LDS is a plan that is developed by rural communities to support sustainable development of their sub-regional area. 
 
leader-banner-1.pngLEADER 2014-2020
The Department of Rural and Community Development is the programme manager for LEADER. Pobal supports the Department in elements of the programme including managing the LDS selection process, financial verification checks and the roll out of the ICT system.
 

The LEADER programme for 2014-2020 has identified a number of strategic priorities for EU rural development.

In Ireland, the overall LEADER budget is €250m (7% of the RDP). LEADER is included under priority 6 of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (RDP): "promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas."


To facilitate a more effective targeting of resources, the requirements of the RDP were identified
through consultation and research. The RDP outlines a series of themes that were identified as overarching needs in rural Ireland. LEADER has three RDP themes and nine sub-themes as follows:

Theme 1 Theme 2 Theme 3
Economic Development, Enterprise Development
and Job Creation
Social Inclusion Rural Environment
Rural Tourism
Enterprise Development
Rural Towns
Broadband
Basic Services targeted at hard to reach communities
Rural Youth
Protection and sustainable use of water resources
Local Biodiversity
Renewable energy

Further information on LEADER 2014-2020 as well as previous programming periods is available 
here
 
How to apply for LEADER fundingleader-banner-2.png
Currently, there are 29 Local Action Groups who have contracts in place with the Department of Rural and Community Development. For further information on LEADER funding in your local area, including how to apply, please see the list of:
Local Action Group & Implementing Partners
 
LEADER ICT System
The LEADER ICT System is being rolled out on a phased basis. Phase 1 which facilitates the submission of a monthly return (administration and animation expenditure) went live in August 2016. Phase 2 which facilitates the input of projects went live in February 2017 and additional functionality to support project claims was added in June 2017. Pobal is currently working on system refinements and other additional requirements which form the basis for Phase 3 and which will be delivered soon.