Communities, individuals and businesses will continue to receive support from Ballyhoura Development and West Limerick Resources into the future.
The local development companies in partnership with LCDC (Limerick Local Community Development Committee) have agreed a “single unified approach for rural development in Limerick”.
The announcement was made by LCDC – a committee of Limerick City and County Council set up last year to oversee and take responsibility for local and community development funding in Limerick and pursue opportunities for additional funding for the area.
The LCDC will be the local action group which will oversee the financial assistance to be given to projects that qualify for the funding. The LCDC comprises 17 members drawn from both the statutory and non-statutory socio-economic partners across Limerick.
Chairman of LCDC, Cllr Eddie Ryan, said the committee has taken a strategic role to ensure the allocation of €9.276m will be maximised in the context of rural development in Limerick.
“What has happened is that we have agreed one expression of interest to draw down funding for Limerick under the Leader element of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
“Both local development companies - West Limerick Resources and Ballyhoura Development - are on board with us and we hope to build on the success of their previous rural development strategies by working in partnership with them and the local authority as the lead financial partner along with members of the LCDC.
“The announcement means that Limerick is unified in its approach to rural development which will create significant job opportunities in rural Limerick,” said Cllr Ryan.
Speaking on behalf of Limerick City and County Council, director of services, Josephine Cotter-Coughlan said the vision of the LCDC is for rural Limerick to be a place that “supports vibrant, resilient and diverse communities”.
“This announcement means that we can achieve our vision of adopting a positive and sustainable approach to rural development that creates and enables economic opportunities and supports and develops strong socially inclusive communities.
“It also means that we can maximise the funding for the greater benefit of the people of Limerick,” said Ms Cotter-Coughlan.
Work will now commence on a Limerick rural development strategy over the coming months.
Ballyhoura announced that further to protracted negotiations in advance of the closing date for submission of expressions of interest for stage 1 of securing the new Leader funding, local development companies in rural Limerick entered into agreements to be the Leader implementation partners in the LCDC expression of interest.
While the local authority will be the financial partners.
Hence communities, individuals and businesses will continue to receive support from Ballyhoura Development and West Limerick Resources in their respective areas.
John Walsh, chairman of Ballyhoura Development expressed “satisfaction that the agreement with the LCDC and the local authority will see Ballyhoura Development deliver Leader to the communities and businesses as has been in the past”.
“Stage 2 of the process requires the preparation of a local development strategy for approval by the LCDC and submission to the Department of the Environment to achieve a contract for the Leader element of RDP 2014-2020.
“It is therefore likely that it will be late this year or early 2016 when the next programme becomes operational, so it’s a good time to get planning, to talk to your local development company and have your say in the focus of the strategy.
Shay Riordan, manager of West Limerick Resources, said they had agreed to work within the LCDC.
“We welcome the approached being adopted by Limerick City and County Council,” said Mr Riordan.