Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has confirmed that €6,853,796 from the current round of LEADER funding has been allocated to projects included in the Clare local development strategy. 

142 Clare projects have already been approved for a total of €3,651,783 in funding with LEADER covering an average 53.3 per cent of the overall cost of the projects.

 A further 14 applications from Clare with a total value of €1,017,468 are in the process of being evaluated.

Deputy Carey said it was significant that three of the four biggest allocations from the Irish LEADER fund went to projects associated with the Tradaree Food Hub project that will be operated by the Obair organisation in Newmarket-on-Fergus.

€200,000 will go towards the development of four food production hubs and a training facility for product development and up-skilling. The aim is to give small food producers the opportunity to train, research and start their own businesses.

A further €200,000 will help develop the Tradaree Youth Space and Training Facility. This will involve the refurbishment of an outhouse and half a training unit to provide an alcohol and drug-free recreation area.

The final €100,000 allocation from LEADER will go towards the Tradaree Community Development Project which will incorporate a production kitchen and bakery for the South Clare meals-on-wheels service as well as community outreach space for the Newmarket on Fergus area.

“As chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Rural and Community Affairs, I am well aware of the impact that LEADER funding has on maintaining employment and community activity in rural areas, Deputy Carey said.

“On a national level, more than €78 million in funding has been made available for 2,225 LEADER projects.This increase reflects a significant expansion of activity over the last 21 months since a range of measures was introduced to make the programme work better for both potential applicants and for the LEADER Local Action Groups which deliver the programme on the ground.

“We want to see this momentum continue over the coming months and the funding for the approved projects drawn down as quickly as possible. LEADER funding represents an enormous opportunity for rural businesses and communities that are in need of investment and it’s great to see the programme continuing to grow and make a difference for rural Ireland over the coming years,” Deputy Carey concluded.