As LEADER reaches a special milestone, we look at the project that got it there.

The 1,000th LEADER project under the current programme (which runs from 2014 until 2020) was approved for funding over the summer: Muckross Rowing Club (Muckross RC) in Co Kerry.

Rowing is one of the oldest sporting traditions on the Lakes of Killarney, dating back for 350 years. The application for funding was made to enable Muckross RC to buy a coastal rowing boat, with a view to retaining young members who often leave the sport in their late teens.

While most of Ireland knows of Olympic champions the O’Donovan brothers, Muckross RC has its own high-performing rowers. Paul Griffin, Sean Casey and Cathal Moynihan have all competed in world championships.

The club continues to look to the future and recently held an open day to attract new members.

On reaching the milestone 1,000th LEADER project, Minister of Rural and Community Development Michael Ring pointed to a further 300 project applications currently going through the approval process for a share of funding of €20m more.

After delays in the first year, more than €30 million has now been released through the programme to support communities and businesses across rural Ireland.

By the end of 2020, €250m in grant aid is expected to have been provided to rural communities and businesses through LEADER.

The LEADER grants are awarded to projects under three themes:

  • Economic development, enterprise development and job creation
  • Social inclusion
  • Rural environment

Since its launch in 1991, LEADER has provided rural communities across the European Union with resources to enable local partners to actively engage and direct local development in their area through community-led local development.

Details of all projects in Ireland approved for LEADER 2014-2020 funding can be found on the Department of Rural and Community Development website and the Pobal website.

Interested in reading more about the state of Ireland’s community development sector? Check out our latest issue.