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Policy Information

LEADER Rural Development

Published: 14 November 2018
From: Department of Rural and Community Development


LEADER supports private enterprises and community groups who improve quality of life and economic activity in rural areas.

Funding is delivered to 28 sub regional areas through Local Action Groups (LAGs). These groups are partnerships of public and private entities from a defined geographical area. Local action groups are responsible for local projects in accordance with the local development strategies they develop themselves.

This aid is provided to projects under the following themes:

  • economic development, enterprise development and job creation
  • social inclusion
  • rural environment

Promoters interested in accessing assistance under the LEADER Programme should submit an expression of interest to their local action group.

See the following link for approved projects under the current programme: Local Action Groups Approved Projects 2014-2020

Local Development Plans

A local development strategy is a community-led plan. It is developed and driven by rural communities, through local action groups, setting out its vision and objectives for the area. The objectives will be delivered by the local action group for the area and any project funded must be in line with the priorities identified in the Strategy. To view a list of summarised versions of Local Development Strategies as drafted by local action groups for the programme period 2014-2020, please view the following page: Local Development Strategies.


LEADER Guidelines set out how the programme should be carried out. They are made in conjunction between the European Commission and Irish government departments. Legal requirements are clarified throughout this collection which must be adhered to by local action groups.

To view more information on the monitoring and evaluation of LEADER, please click the following link: Monitoring and Evaluation: LEADER 2014-2020.

Further Information for the LEADER programme

National Rural Network – Information about LEADER Case Studies and examples of projects supported under the previous LEADER Programme.

LEADER Allocations 2014-2020 - A listing of Funding allocations of each Local Action Group.

European Commission Regulations laying down rules for LEADER 2014-2020 - Listing of European Commission guidelines governing the LEADER programme.

National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 – Link to the Department of Agriculture website. LEADER is an element of the National Rural Development Programme.

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