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

Aims & Objectives

Note: The LEADER programme is currently in a transitional phase with the 2023-2027 programme due to launch at the end of the summer.

The specific aim of the Transitional LEADER Programme is to allow locally-led rural development projects to continue to be delivered using the 2014-2020 LEADER model until the new EU programme commences in 2023.

The other main priorities of the Transitional Programme:

  • Building capacity within communities which have not received LEADER funding to date
  • Projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Projects addressing climate change
  • Projects supporting digital transitions.

What does it support?

LEADER supports projects that fall under three themes:

Theme 1: Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation

  • Rural tourism
  • Enterprise development
  • Broadband
  • Rural towns 

Theme 2: Social Inclusion

  • Provision of basic services targeted at hard to reach communities 
  • Rural youth

Theme 3: Rural Environment 

  • Protection and sustainable use of water resources
  • Protection and improvement of local biodiversity
  • Development of renewable energy 

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.


€70 million for the Transitional Programme period of 2021-2022.

Project Examples

LEADER Project Examples Ireland

National Contact Point in Ireland

Local Action Groups (LAGs) are responsible for identifying and helping to develop LEADER projects. The LAGS for the 2023-2027 programme will be announced at the end of the summer.

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 National Rural Network's website.

Social Media

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View the latest funding from the EU