IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has called on the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly to proceed with contracts for the implementation of Leader from September next.
Following a meeting with Department of Environment officials, Flor McCarthy said that with €250m allocated to Leader in the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 it is imperative that rural communities and project promoters are given an early opportunity to avail of vital support.
“While there have been strong reservations about the new arrangement for Leader through the Local Community Development Companies (LCDCs) through the local authority, nevertheless it is now important that the tendering process, which will be used to operate Leader in each county, works smoothly” the IFA Rural Development Chairman said.
Flor McCarthy pointed out that the existing expertise within the current Leader companies must not be ignored in the tendering process. While counties may have strategies to implement Rural Development policy, it is vitally important that this expertise for implementation is availed of from the Leader programme. This must be a key factor taken into account by the selection committee who will decide who operates Leader in each county.