ONeill urges participation in Local Action Groups (LAGs)

23 October 2014

PLEASE NOTE - Registration closed on December 19th 2014

Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill, MLA has urged rural dwellers across the north to become involved with a Local Action Group (LAG) to shape,guide and deliver positive transformation in their communities.

ONeill urges participation in Local Action Groups (LAGs)

Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA, pictured at the Local Action Group launch with Rural Community Representatives

The Minister made the call as she launched the animation process for the formation of new LAG’s as part of the process under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

Under the guidance of the EU-wide LEADER Programme LAGs will be set-up throughout the north, bringing together rural dwellers and a range of farming, community, business and elected representatives to form a partnership in the delivery of a £70million Rural Development Programme allocation.

Minister O’Neill said: "This is a very exciting time for rural development in the north. I’ve recently submitted the draft Programme for 2014-20 to the Commission for approval and secured the largest budget we have had under RDP, £623million.

"The formation of LAGs is an integral aspect of the RDP and a positive step for rural communities and businesses here. The strength of LAGs will be their unique ability to offer local solutions to local challenges formulated by local people.

"They will offer local people a real opportunity to shape, guide and deliver positive transformation in delivering tangible improvements for the betterment of our rural communities across the north.

"Local input and contribution will be what makes the difference in each rural community and I am urging everyone to get involved and help prioritise and target the schemes that will reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities and help rural areas to flourish and survive.

"However, for LAGs to be truly effective they require as many rural organisations, individuals, businesses and groups as possible to get involved and drive them forward. In the coming weeks a series of public meetings will be held and it is essential that as many people attend these as possible."

Teresa Canavan, Chief Executive of the Rural Development Council and speaking on behalf of the Rural Network for Northern Ireland, explained:

"The series of public meetings, which will take place right across Northern Ireland, will inform local people about the process of becoming a LAG Member.  LAG membership will be unlimited and open to anyone aged 18 or over.  If you are interested in hearing more about LEADER, the programme, the process or how to get involved we encourage you to come along.

"We are urging everyone not to leave rural development to chance and instead get involved and make the difference your rural area deserves."

Full details of public meetings will be published on the Rural Network NI website