Speech at launch of the new Meath Leader Programme

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Speech at the launch of the LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme for County Meath in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan, Co. Meath on Thursday 22nd September 2016 at 6:00 pm by Damien English, TD, Minister for State at the Department for Housing and Urban Renewal.

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to be here with you in the Ardboyne Hotel to launch the LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme for County Meath.

I want to start by thanking the Local Action Group and its Chair Sinead Smith along with Michael Ludlow of Meath Partnership for asking me to join with you this evening.

LEADER is built on the strength of Local Action Groups – local people making decisions locally.

The Meath LAG was in the first tranche of Funding Agreements which were signed last July for the delivery of LEADER and I’m sure that under Sinead’s stewardship it will continue to lead the way under the new programme.

The LEADER Local Development Strategy for Co Meath is built on a vision for the county and within this vision lies a challenge to create a county which fulfils its social and economic potential.

A County that is a preferred location for living and doing business in and one that provides us and our communities with the highest standards of living and quality of life.

The LEADER Programme works off the principle that rural communities hold the key to their own destinies and that in any county the people are the greatest available asset.

LEADER helps to facilitate the practical expression of such greatness.

With a budget of over €6.9 million for LEADER in county Meath, it provides a unique opportunity to focus additional support on enterprise and jobs, social inclusion and the disadvantaged and the quality of the environment in which we live and work.

This programme will build on the work achieved during the last programme which saw some great benefits to the people, our local communities and business in Meath.

  • The Brú Micro Brewery in Trim,
  • The Military War Museum near Collon,
  • Tayto Park at Kilbrew,
  • The Meath River Rescue Boathouse at Navan
  • St Mary’s Silver Band Performance and Training Centre.

In addition to these many communities have led the development and upgrade of local community facilities, great credit is due to these volunteer bodies who took on formidable projects and the financial burden involved.

Communities which stand out in this respect include Cormeen, Ashbourne, Ballivor, Oldcastle, Skyrne, Ballinlough, Moylagh, Summerhill, Boyerstown, Bohermeen and Athboy to name but a few.

I am aware that the foundation planning is well advanced in respect of new community applications to LEADER and I wish you every success as you go forward.

As a funding initiative, LEADER is open to all rural dwellers, including community and voluntary groups, small to medium enterprises and private individuals.

Within the framework of the Local Development Strategy, LEADER can offer developmental support and grant aid to projects aiming to promote quality of life and economic opportunities through local actions and operations initiated through the bottom up developmental process.

The LAG delivering LEADER in Meath is the Meath LCDC in conjunction with Meath Partnership as the Implementing Partner and Meath County Council as the Financial Partner.

I want to acknowledge and commend the good work of all of these partners. This is a new model for LEADER delivery but with your continued hard work and a collaborative spirit, I’m confident that LEADER can make a real difference for Communities and employment in county Meath.

The LEADER programme can fund enterprise development, job creation, rural tourism and recreation. In addition, it promotes social inclusion and basic services for hard to reach communities.

Other areas of possible activity include initiatives aimed at rural youth, renewable energy, the protection and sustainable use of water resources at a local level and the protection and improvement of local biodiversity.

The new LEADER Programme provides a great opportunity to build on these types of projects throughout the County, which are to the benefit of Meath and Rural Ireland generally.

I hope you agree that there is a wealth of opportunity within all those areas. I know that there are communities, entrepreneurs and businesses here in county Meath with worthwhile projects that could avail of this funding.

Finally, I would encourage each and every one of you to start the ball rolling, get networking & get involved with the Meath LAG to make these projects happen and to ‘Make It Meath’ for your business and our communities.

Thank You.

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