€435,000 was approved to fund a diverse range of projects across enterprise development, rural tourism, social inclusion and the environment by the Dublin Rural Local Action Group (LAG) in 2017.
Head of Fingal LCDC Dr Pat O’Connor with Chair of Fingal Leader Partnership Chris Harmon and Chief Executive of Fingal County Council Paul Reid.
Led by the Fingal Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) the LAG was established to deliver the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme for the period 2016-2021.
The €435,000 comes from a fund of €4.83 million. Grants ranging from €3,000 to €200,000 were given to 17 projects. Examples include a feasibility study for Ardgillan Castle under the Economic Development theme as well as expansion of Paws Café, under the Social Inclusion theme. Significant projects include approval of funding of €200,000 awarded for the relocation and fit out of the Remember Us Special Needs Centre.
The LCDC led Dublin Rural Local Action Group, appointed Fingal Leader Partnership (FLP) at the end of 2016 as the on-the-ground-implementing partner, FLP have made significant progress assisting potential project promotors to develop applications for approvals by the LCDC led LAG. Approvals began in June 2017 and are projected to rise significantly in 2018 to approximately €1.5million.
The Dublin Rural Area has a population of over 66,000 people of which Fingal makes up approximately 70 per cent of the eligible local areas.
Commenting on the funding, Fingal County Council Chief Executive, Mr Paul Reid, said: “LEADER funding has the potential to have a transformative impact on the economy and quality of life in Rural Dublin. From a Fingal perspective, it is very much welcome, especially considering the size and importance of the agricultural sector in the county. As Financial Partner for the Programme, Fingal County Council will continue to work closely with the LCDC led Dublin Rural Local Action Group, the Fingal Leader Partnership, and our counterparts in the other local authorities to ensure that we maximize the benefits that will accrue from this funding.”
The LCDC led LAG consists of 17 members from the three Dublin local authority administrative areas which are Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown. It includes three councillors, representation of public and private interests including business, education, enterprise, agriculture, environment and voluntary sectors through the Public Participation Networks (PPN).
Dr Pat O’Connor, Chair of the LCDC led Dublin Rural Local Action Group, commented “LAG members have accomplished a great deal this year from establishing the governing structure to beginning the process of approvals. Next year is set to be more significant again with the volume and value of approvals set to triple, I look forward to working alongside LAG colleagues in achieving this.”
Chris O’Malley CEO of Fingal Leader Partnership commented, “Our Rural Development Team has been working hard to make community groups and small businesses aware of what the programme offers and to assist them in ensuring their proposals meet all of the rules of the programme. Their experience makes us confident the programme will have a very positive impact across Rural Dublin.”
Mayor of Fingal, Mary McCamley said: “With so many of our residents living and working in rural parts of the county, this funding will be extremely valuable to the development of tourism, enterprise and infrastructure in the area. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this investment across Fingal in the coming years.”