Galway Rural Development and Forum Connemara have called on government ministers to make the COVID-19 EU Recovery Fund available for rural development this year.
Minister Charlie McConalogue and Minister Heather Humphreys were urged to make the €190 million fund available in 2021 and 2022.
The European Union Recovery Instrument was established by the EU to support recovery after the pandemic, with a total of €190 million being allocated to Ireland for agriculture and rural development over the next two years.
“The LEADER Programme offers the ideal vehicle for the delivery of this funding to rural areas in the most effective manner,” said Karen Mannion, CEO of Forum Connemara.
“By allocating a portion of the EU recovery funding to the LEADER programme, the government can maximise drawdown of the available fund, deliver critical stimulus to rural areas, and drive the post-Covid recovery.”
CEO of Galway Rural Development Steve Dolan echoed this, saying: “By fully utilising the funds available for the purposes of LEADER in over the next two years, the government could maximise the future of the LEADER programme for the period from 2023 to 2027.
“Now is the time to ensure a sustainable level of funding for rural Ireland for the next decade”.