Fine Gael TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim, Frank Feighan, has welcomed the announcement by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, that the European Commission has cleared the way for the reinstatement of the €500,000 maximum grant amount for community projects under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme.
Up until recently, community projects could apply for grant aid of up to €500,000. However, a State Aid issue identified in late 2011 resulted in the suspension of grant aid for any project with grant amount of €200,000 or more.
Mr Feighan commented: Due to State Aid limits, it was necessary for the Department of the Environment to undertake a notification process with the European Commission (EC) to obtain approval to fund community projects over and above the State Aid limit of €200,000. Thankfully, this process is now complete and the EC have agreed that the aid delivered is not State Aid, therefore allowing the reinstatement of the €500,000 maximum grant for community projects.”
The schemes concerned are ‘Basic services for the economy and rural population’, with a budget of €49.61 million and ‘Village renewal and development’ with a budget of €54.2 million.
These grant support programmes provide support for non-commercial community based projects and focus particularly on community infrastructure. The reinstatement of the €500,000 maximum grant amount for community projects under the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) will support non-commercial community projects with a particular focus on infrastructure.
Mr Feighan concluded: “The EU co-funded Rural Development Programme (RDP) is aimed at improving the quality of life and supporting the diversification of economic activity in rural areas. In excess of €300 million will be spent on the programme and will stimulate and develop local communities. This news will be of clear benefit to communities in Roscommon and Leitrim.”