Hogan: 'New approach will achieve more joined-up rural development'
A more integrated approach to rural development will not involve local authorities taking over LEADER budgets from Local Development Companies (LDCs), Environment Minister Phil Hogan has insisted.
Minister Hogan, pictured right, last week announced that he was looking for greater 'alignment' between local authorities and LDCs on rural development projects, but the Minister told the Farming Independent this week that "the process of alignment will not subsume LEADER into the local authorities.
"It will simply ensure that local authorities are at the heart of the development planning and implementation process at local level where local government should be,'' he added.
"Alignment will achieve a more joined-up approach to service delivery at local level and will maximise funding for the delivery of frontline services.
"One of the main aims of the alignment process is to find efficiencies in the system that will ensure that the largest proportion possible of LEADER funding goes to support development interventions directly and is not diverted to increased administration and overhead costs," said Minister Hogan.
"Local authorities will provide support to the community development companies (LDCs) and they will absorb most of the associated administration costs involved.