Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Council passes Sinn Féin motion to request continuation of LEADER funding from EU and Westminster

Published: 26 October, 2018

At Thursday night's Fermanagh and Omagh Special Council Meeting on Brexit, Sinn Féin Councillor, John Feely, proposed that;

"This Council contact the EU and request that they continue to fund any future LEADER Programmes in the same manner as they have agreed to continue to fund the future Peace and Interreg Programmes.

"We further agree to contact the British Government to request that they commit to fund any future LEADER Programmes out of Westminster budgets and not out of the block grant.

"As these three programmes are all directly named in the Good Friday Agreement, this Council believes it is imperative that they are all treated with the same importance.

"This Council will also write to all other Councils in the North, to the Rural Development Council and to the ten Local Action Groups to ask them to also lobby the EU and the British Government on this issue."

The Council unanimously agreed to the proposal.

Speaking afterwards Councillor Feely said,

"The LEADER Programme has been very good to the Fermanagh and Omagh areas over the years. Millions of pounds have been spent in our district that would otherwise not have been. It has resulted in the creation of jobs and been a great support to our rural communities.

"Back in 1998, during the negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement, the importance of LEADER along with the Peace and Interreg programmes was recognised. Peace and Interreg programmes have been secured. With political will and consensus, the LEADER programme could also be funded going into the future.

"With its bottom-up approach to funding, and a total budget for the Fermanagh and Omagh Local Action Groups of over eight million pounds between 2014 and 2020, the Council recognises the need to secure this funding for the future.

"I look forward to other Councils supporting this initiative and joining us in lobbying for the retention of the LEADER Programme." - Ends/Críoch