The LEADER funding programme supports community-led local development in rural Ireland.

Aims & Objectives

LEADER is a community-led approach to local development funded through Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027. It is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

It is a key intervention of Our Rural Future, the Government’s Policy for rural development launched in 2021, which aims to deliver a wide range of actions to rural communities over the lifetime of the policy.

What does it support?

LEADER supports projects that fall under three themes:

Theme 1: Economic Development & Job Creation

  • The Green Economy
  • Agricultural Diversification
  • Rural Tourism & Recreation
  • Enterprise Development
  • Social, Community & Cooperative Enterprises
  • Rural Food Production

Theme 2: Rural Infrastructure & Social Inclusion

  • Rural Infrastructure
  • Accessible Services
  • Optimising Digital Connectivity
  • Rural Youth

Theme 3: Sustainable Development of the Rural Environment & Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation

  • Sustainable Development of the Rural Environment
  • Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation
  • Climate Change Capacity Building

Who can apply?

Private businesses or community-based groups in rural areas are eligible to apply. Rural areas are defined as all parts of Ireland outside the city boundaries of Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, and Galway. All areas outside of these boundaries are eligible.


€180 million for the period of 2023-2027.

Project Examples

LEADER Project Examples Ireland

National Contact Point in Ireland

The Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD) is responsible for the implementation of the LEADER Programme. Pobal supports DRCD in the administration of a number of elements of the LEADER Programme.

Funding is delivered to 28 sub regional areas through Local Action Groups (LAGs). These groups are partnerships of public and private entities from a defined geographical area. Local action groups are responsible for local projects in accordance with the local development strategies they develop themselves.

Find your LAG here

Open Calls

Contact your Local Action Group directly to find out about LEADER funding available for your community.

Want to find out more?

Learn more about LEADER on the Department of Rural and Community Development's website.

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