Rural Development on the agenda as New Local Action Groups meet the Minister

27 May 2015

The contribution of local people to rural development in the north of Ireland was high on the agenda at the recent Balmoral Show as Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA, met with representatives from the newly formed Local Action Groups (LAGs).

Rural Development on the agenda as New Local Action Groups meet the Minister

LAG members pictured with DARD Minister, Michelle O'Neill MLA, at the recent Balmoral Show

The £70m scheme has seen over 2,000 individuals sign up to be part of the initiative which gives people living and working in rural areas a unique opportunity to work alongside elected representatives and fully engage in the development of their area.

In all ten LAGs have been formed.

 Using the skills and knowledge of local people, LAGs are able to identify the issues that matter most and, through their Boards, formulate and implement tangible solutions that will reduce poverty, improve employment opportunities and help their areas flourish.

 Speaking to the members at the Balmoral Show, Minister O’Neill said:

“The public interest in LAG formation has been incredible and I am thrilled to see so many people seizing this opportunity to play their part in making a real difference to rural development in the north.

 “With the groups now formed we are looking forward to moving to the next stage of their development.

 “This will see strategies being formulated and applied that will deliver positive changes in rural areas.

 “I want to thank everyone who has got involved and wish them all the very best as they continue to progress their plans by identifying the priorities for their area with calls for funding anticipated in the latter part of the year”.

 The formation of the LAGs has been facilitated by the Northern Ireland Rural Development Council, LAGs have been formed as part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 under the guidance of the EU-wide LEADER Programme.