To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the process behind the allocation of funding, per county, under the LEADER Programme; the criteria to determine the level of funding allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015.
Ref No: 11199/15 , 11486/15 and 11787/15
Minister of State for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Ann Phelan)
I propose to take Questions Nos 868, 884 and 900 together.
Under the EU regulatory framework governing the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, each EU Member State must conduct an open and transparent process to select both the Local Development Strategies and the Local Action Group for each sub-regional area. Accordingly, my Department is conducting a two stage process. The first stage, which is an Expressions of Interest (EOI) stage, was launched on 23 March 2015 and any entity wishing to be considered as a Local Action Group for their area has until 15 May 2015 to submit an EOI. Further details are available on my Department’s website on http://www.environ.ie/en/Community/RuralDevelopment/EURuralDevelopment/RuralDevelopmentProgrammeLEADER2014-2020/SelectionProcessforLEADER2014-2020/
Entities successful in the first stage of the process will be invited and supported in Stage Two of the process, which is the design of a Local Development Strategy for their area. I expect that some Local Development Strategies will be operational and funding available by late Autumn 2015.
€220 million of the LEADER Programme allocation of €250 million has been allocated by my Department to the 28 sub-regional areas. €15 million from the remainder of the fund is allocated for the D epartment of A griculture, F ood and M arine Artisan Foods Initiative, €5m for the REDZ Initiative and €10 m illion for cooperation projects.
EU Regulation 1303/2013 which governs the Rural Development Programme states that it is the responsibility of the Member State to “define criteria for the selection of community led local development strategies”. In this context it was decided to determine county allocations in advance of beginning Stage One of the selection process. This will allow any entity that wishes to make an application to deliver the Programme to tailor their strategy for their area accordingly. I believe that this process will support the design and development of more robust and implementable strategies.
In determining the county allocations three objective criteria were used, namely, minimum allocation, population density and a Resource Allocation Model (RAM). Each Sub-Regional area was given a minimum allocation of €3 million to ensure that each county received a viable allocation in line with European Commission guidelines. Cork was allocated €6 million as a minimum in order to ensure a viable allocation to each of the three administrative districts within the county. The fact that the population in Cork, outside the city, is almost twice that of any other county and more than three times many, was also taken into consideration. Nationally, these minimum allocations total €81 million.
A measure of population density (county population divided by km2) was used to distribute one half of the remaining fund (€69.5m). An ‘average amount’ based on 26 counties was calculated. Each county’s population density was then compared to the average population density for the country. For those counties where the density was above or below average the average amount was adjusted upwards (below average) or downwards (above average) based on the percentage deviation from the average to determine an allocation to each county.
The second half of the remaining fund (€69.5m) was allocated to each county using a Resource Allocation Model (RAM). The model was developed by Trutz Haase using information from the 2011 census and the Trutz Haase deprivation index as a measure of deprivation. The underlying variables of the model include consideration of demographic decline, social class deprivation and labour market deprivation. The model also used CSO area classification to measure the urban-rural spectrum. These calculations were weighted towards rural areas and considered areas with low and medium deprivation.
The final allocations for each county determined using the methodology outlined above is set out in Table 1 below.
Table 1: LEADER Allocations 2014-2020
County Programme Allocation
Rural Dublin €6,370,438.43
County Waterford €7,522,796.18
County Cork €13,938,823.22
County Limerick €9,276,593.96
County Galway €12,195,883.61