Theme one – Economic Development, focuses on driving continued local economic development, including diversification of the rural economy and the creation of employment opportunities for the local community, including those from disadvantaged groups.

This will be done through the sub themes listed below:

Rural Tourism

Rural tourism provides a stimulus for enterprise and job creation. Tourism tends to exploit particular assets that are generally place-specific, for example, landscape and history. Accordingly, it offers significant potential, even in peripheral areas. Interventions under this sub-theme should focus on actions that have the potential to make the area more attractive for local, national and foreign visitors.

Examples of actions that may be supported include –
  • Feasibility studies to explore the tourism potential of an area;
  • Marketing initiatives;
  • The creation of tourism hubs to facilitate a multi-sectoral approach,
  • Activities that centre on the development and renovation of infrastructure, which contribute to historic and heritage based tourism. In exceptional circumstances, and in consultation with the Department, this may include private dwellings where this can be shown to contribute to historic and heritage based tourism

LEADER supported tourism projects must comply with relevant Fáilte Ireland or other sectoral standards such as planning permission etc.

Enterprise Development


LEADER can support micro, small and medium enterprises as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC3.
Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have primary responsibility for micro-enterprise in Ireland. LEADER must complement rather than compete with LEO activity; effective systems of collaboration and consultation are required to ensure a co-ordinated and effective allocation of resources. The respective areas of LEO and LEADER enterprise activity are outlined in the protocol between the Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This protocol applies nationally, but allows sufficient flexibility at a local level to facilitate project referral from LEOs to LAGs as appropriate. For more information on Business applications please click here (LINK NEEDED)

The CEDRA Report (2014) identifies areas that might benefit most from LEADER support –

  • Artisan and other food businesses;
  • Renewable Energy;
  • Marine diversification (to complement support provided by Fisheries LAGs funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund);
  • Social Enterprises; and
  • Creative Industries

Supported actions might include investment support or sector-specific training programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, social enterprises, start-ups and established SMEs. In the context of Priority 6, developing inclusive models of business support will be key to realising the potential of groups who are underrepresented in enterprise, e.g. women, young people and people with disabilities.

Rural Towns

This sub-theme supports the regeneration of rural towns. It seeks to promote them as attractive places to visit, live and do business in. LEADER is particularly suited to revitalising rural towns through co-ordination of integrated approaches that build on the economic strengths and infrastructure of the area whilst addressing the key challenges for business, community and recreation.

Actions to support the regeneration of rural towns might include town renewal schemes that renovate derelict buildings in order to attract business to vacant properties. The building or refurbishment of community buildings also provides a multifunctional infrastructure for social, cultural and sporting activities and training for the local community. Developing and promoting unique social events and activities can provide an important stimulus to rural towns. LEADER projects in this area should complement and add value to other national supports for rural towns.

Theme one focuses on driving continued local economic development, including diversification of the rural economy and the creation of employment opportunities for the local community, including those from disadvantaged groups. This will be done through the sub themes.

Theme two focuses on focuses on promoting the cohesion of the sub-regional area, from both an economic development and social inclusion perspective. This will be done through the sub themes.

Theme three seeks to maximise the potential of environmental actions to contribute to the sustainable development of rural communities. It focuses on utilising the landscape within a local area, while simultaneously creating a greater environmental awareness and improving environmental protection. This will be done through the sub themes.

We’re Here To Help Your Project Blast Off!

Through Resources, Guidance & Advice

Let’s Get Started!