Kilkenny Leader Partnership
Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, members of The Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) have acknowledged the publication of the Government’s Rural Development Strategy – ‘Our Rural Future’.
As one of Ireland’s 49 Local Development Companies (LDCs), Kilkenny LEADER Partnership welcome today’s policy announcement and its potential for Kilkenny.
“Local Development Companies such as ours have been pillars of rural development for over 30 years," said Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s CEO Declan Rice.
"Covid-19 and the rollout of the National Broadband plan provides an opportunity for a reimagining of the potential of Rural areas. The strategy identifies the creation of ‘Local Master Plans’ to meet the long term needs of Rural areas. Local Development Companies, with our track record in rural development and strategic planning will be central to this process.
Referring to the role of LEADER in the Strategy, Mr Rice said the LEADER programme had been identified as a key measure in the plan.
"As the providers of LEADER across the country we welcome the continued commitment to this critical programme and call on the Government to fully support LEADER through maximising EU funding and Exchequer co-funding in the years ahead," he said.
"LEADER can provide the required development capacity and finance needed to deliver measures identified in the strategy. Furthermore LDCs have been at the forefront of the emerging 'Smart Village' concept which will be a major element of the next round of EU programming and an important element of any successful rural development approach.
“KLP has pioneered many projects that support and chime with the Government’s ‘Our Rural Future’ strategy, from community shop networks, to integrated public transport systems, ‘fibre to the home’ in rural towns outside the National Broadband Plan, ‘Energy Towns’ optimising the potential; of local sourced renewable energy, The Nore Vision catchment scale initiative, and many more."
The role of Local Development Companies is interwoven throughout the strategy.
"We particularly note the commitment in the Programme for Government to support, ‘a LEADER Programme and deliver a Rural Development Programme that is led by independent Local Action Groups.’ In addition to LEADER, as providers of employment support measures such as the Rural Social Scheme, Tús and Community Employment and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, as well as Outdoor Recreational and Walks measures, our LDCs will be vital partners in ensuring that the ambition of this plan is realised and look forward to working positively with Government in this endeavour," Mr Rice said.
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