LEADER Programme

Biodiverse hedgerow

Údarás na Gaeltachta has a role in implementing leader in the Gaeltacht areas of Donegal and Múscraí.

Údarás na Gaeltachta is one of four implementing partners of the Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) led Local Action Group (LAG) in County Donegal and County Cork and has responsibility for the administration and animation of the LEADER Programme in the Gaeltacht areas of Donegal and Múscraí.

Ról an Údaráis i gClár LEADER

Theme 1: Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation
Theme 1 is focused on the challenge of driving continued local economic development, including the diversification of the rural economy, to create employment opportunities for the local community, including those from disadvantaged groups.

Theme 2: Social Inclusion
Priority areas for investment may include:

  • Improving access to basic services and support for community facility development.
  • Introduction of a new service or the re-introduction of a previously withdrawn service.
  • The promotion of youth entrepreneurship and associated training which can provide improved pathways for young people to access economic opportunities in rural areas.
  • Youth-based projects such as the provision of youth clubs/cafés; improved access to ICT; sports/recreation activities; arts-based projects; and youth development programmes.
  • Support for improved access to and use of broadband in rural areas.
  • Feasibility studies, thematic or area development plans, purchase of equipment, networking, information hub and shared facilities.
  • Initiatives to develop and “tap-into” the social capital within the Community.

Theme 3: Rural Environment
Theme three focuses on maximising the potential of the environment to contribute to the sustainable development of rural communities. Areas of focus may include:

  • The promotion / progression of social, community and economic actions supportive of environmental protection, sustainability and good practice.
  • Development of Renewable Energy projects.
  • Inland waters recreation and protection.
  • Protection and improvement of local biodiversity.

Cé atá Incháilithe le hiarratas a dhéanamh agus do chéard?

LEADER is a funding initiative open to all. From community and voluntary groups to
private individuals and small to medium enterprises, LEADER can offer grant aid and support to projects aiming to promote the quality of life and economic opportunities in the Donegal/Múscraí Gaeltacht within the framework of the approved Local Development Strategy.

Those not resident in the Donegal/Múscraí Gaeltacht may still apply to Údarás for LEADER support if the project is based in the Donegal/Múscraí Gaeltacht. Projects based outside the Donegal/Múscraí Gaeltacht should apply to one of the other implementing partners for LEADER support (to Comhar na nOileán if the project is based on one of the Donegal Gaeltacht islands).

Eligible project areas for LEADER investment

  • Construction, acquisition or improvement of immovable property.
  • General costs linked to expenditure referred to above such as architect, engineer and consultation fees, fees relating to advice on environmental and economic sustainability, including feasibility studies. Professional costs, such as the fees of architects, archaeologists, engineers and consultants, are eligible for funding up to a cumulative ceiling of 12% of the capital costs of such projects.
  • Purchase of machinery and equipment.
  • Intangible investments such as the acquisition or development
    of computer software and acquisitions of patents, licenses, copyrights, trademarks.
  • Training.
  • Services and facilities targeting the disadvantaged and hard to reach.

Please note – the LEADER programme cannot fund any project or element of a project retrospectively.

The following costs / projects in the following sectors are not eligible for LEADER support:

  • Agriculture & Fisheries.
  • Conventional retail operations, excluding community based shops and farm shops selling locally produced produce.
  • Courses of instruction or training which form part of normal education
    programmes or systems at secondary school or higher levels.
  • Loans, working capital, insurance costs.
  • Horticulture (including bee-keeping).
  • Payments for gifts, donations or personal entertainments.
  • Statutory fines and penalties, criminal fines and damages.
  • Legal expenses in respect of litigation.
  • Costs associated with meeting a legislative or statutory requirement.
  • Planning application fees.
  • Reclaimable VAT.
  • Improvements/refurbishment of private residential property.
  • Projects that already have other EU funding either directly or
    through a national programme.
  • Conventional motor vehicles, including cars, industrial/farm/
    construction vehicles, vans and buses.
  • General maintenance works of public bodies.
  • Childcare, Health Care, Nursing Homes, Housing.
  • Race and Sport horse industries.
  • Greyhound industry.

Evaluation Criteria

As a guiding principle, on behalf of the LAG all projects will be considered by reference to the following:

  • Compatible with the Donegal Local Development Strategy and Programme Operating Rules.
  • The innovative nature of the project proposed.
  • The market or demand for the proposed project, product or service.
  • The economic viability of the project proposed.
  • The capacity of the promoter to deliver the project.
  • Adequate overall finance available to the promoter to successfully fund and complete the project.
  • The management and technical capacity available to the promoter sufficient to implement the proposed project

Rolling vs Targeted Calls for Projects

Rolling calls are open applications received on a ‘first-come, first served’ basis.
However under this Programme, LAGs must implement targeted periodic calls for EOIs. It is expected that at least 40% of calls will be on a targeted basis and that targeted calls are spread across all themes of the Programme. Targeted calls will commence from 2017 onwards.

The purpose of targeted calls for EOIs is to ensure that LEADER funding is targeted where it delivers the most value, is awarded based on a comparative assessment, secures equal opportunities for all potential applicants and ensures that funding is available for the duration of the Programme.

Targeted Calls in Donegal/Múscraí Gaeltacht will adhere to the bottom-up ethos of LEADER.
Targeted, periodic calls will be widely publicised, at information meetings and/or in the local media and direct contact with promoters.

Making an Application

Expression of Interest
An Expression of Interest (EOI) form must be completed as a pre-cursor to any application proper for funding under the LEADER programme. This EOI will assist in accessing the eligibility of a proposal and is not to be mistaken for any formal application for funding which may be made by you at a later date. All EOIs will be acknowledged and will be logged on RDP IT national System.

Once a proposal is deemed eligible, an Application Form and Guidance Pack with all terms and conditions will issue. Conditions will include such matters as planning permission, sources of finance, Tax Clearance Certificate, procurement process (quotes), insurance and statutory requirements. When a completed application is received it will be acknowledged and sent for 1st “Article 48 Check”.

Assessment and Decision
A Project Officer (PO) will prepare an assessment of the project and present it to an Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC). The IEC will make a recommendation to the LAG for funding in terms of the amount and rate. The LAG will meet to review the recommendations of the IEC and either approve or reject the application for funding.

Approved projects will be presented for the second “Article 48 Check”. When this check is completed (and assuming that no issues arise) a Letter of Offer and Contract will issue to the Promoter. When the offer is accepted the eligibility period for the project commences. The PO will monitor the progress of the project and undertake site visits as required.

The Promoter may seek to claim a drawdown of the grant aid when the project or relevant phase of the project is complete and all relevant expenditure is paid. The PO will work with the promoter to finalise all outstanding checks and paperwork and present the project for drawdown. At this stage the project will undergo the final Article 48 check in terms of payment and once completed successfully, Donegal County Council will issue the grant payment to the promoter (by electronic transfer).

Further information please contact:

Údarás Gaobh Dobhair

Údarás na Gaeltachta,
Páirc Ghnó Ghaoth Dobhair,
Doirí Beaga,
Co Dhún na nGall.

Email: leaderdnag@udaras.ie Telephone: 074 95 60100



Údarás na Gaeltachta
Páirc Ghnó an Daingin
Daingean Uí Chúis
Co. Chiarraí.

Email: leadermuscrai@udaras.ie Telephone: 066 9150100