Dáil Éireann - Volume 526 - 15 November, 2000
Written Answers. - Leader Programmes.
Mr. Aylward Mr. Aylward
176. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will approve funding under the national mainstream Leader programme to the Irish Farmhouse Holidays association to assist in its promotion of Irish farmhouse accommodation internationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25991/00]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Leader type activity in the period to 2006 will be delivered through the European Union Leader+ programme, together with a mainstream national rural development programme. A total of £117 million in public funding has been allocated to these two programmes, £58 million for Leader+ and £59 million in respect of the mainstream programme. The Leader+ programme has been submitted to the European Commission for approval.
The national rural development programme forms part of the regional operational programmes and will be funded under the National Development Plan 2000-06. Given its complementarity with Leader+, the European Commission has indicated that the approval process for the national rural development programme  and the Leader+ programme will take place simultaneously. An independent consultant will be commissioned to examine all of the applications for assistance under the programmes and make recommendations on selection. The Department will consider this assessment and report to Government who will make the final decision on the selection of groups. The process for selection of groups to operate the new programmes will commence shortly and will proceed contemporaneously with the commission's consideration of the programmes. I expect that the decision on the successful groups will follow shortly after the commission's approval of the programmes.
I can confirm that my Department has received an application from Irish Farmhouse Holidays for the national rural development programme and this application will be assessed in the context of that programme.
Dáil Éireann 526 Written Answers. Leader Programmes.