Project Type Overview

The Rural Development Programme

The LEADER Rural Development Programme is split into three themes that reflect the overarching needs of rural Ireland. An application must fit with one or more of the themes to be eligible. The themes reflect the key challenges facing rural Ireland, with regard to economic recovery, employment creation, tackling social exclusion and reducing the impact of global warming and resource depletion. Each theme contains a number of sub-themes, which are considered the key areas in need of the greatest support and have the greatest potential to promote the sustainable development of rural communities.

Click on the section titles below for information on priority areas for support under the LEADER Rural Development Programme

Theme 1

Economic Development

Theme one focuses on driving continued local economic development, including diversification of the rural economy and the creation of employment opportunities for the local community, including those from disadvantaged groups. This will be done through the sub themes listed below.


Rural Tourism
Rural tourism provides a stimulus for enterprise and job creation. Tourism tends to exploit particular assets that are generally place-specific, for example, landscape and history.
Enterprise Development
LEADER can support micro, small and medium enterprises. Support includes investment support or sector-specific training programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, social enterprises, start-ups and established SMEs.
Rural Towns
LEADER seeks to support the rural town and promote them as attractive places to visit, live and do business in.

Theme 2

Social Inclusion

Theme two focuses on focuses on promoting the cohesion of the sub-regional area, from both an economic development and social inclusion perspective. This will be done through the sub themes listed below.


Provision of Basic Services Targeted at ‘Hard to Reach’ Communities
The main focus here is improving access to basic services for people living in rural and remote areas and groups who are at risk of social exclusion.
Rural Youth
The promotion of youth entrepreneurship and associated training can provide improved pathways for young people to access economic opportunities in rural areas.

Theme 3

Rural Environment

Theme three seeks to maximise the potential of environmental actions to contribute to the sustainable development of rural communities. It focuses on utilising the landscape within a local area, while simultaneously creating a greater environmental awareness and improving environmental protection. This will be done through the sub themes listed below.


Protection and Sustainable use of Water Resources
Greater protection of local water resources is important for sustaining rural communities.
Protection and Improvement of Local Biodiversity
The protection of biodiversity is a growing concern, with the loss of various species of wildlife, flora and fauna as well as their natural habitat.
Development of Renewable Energy
Clean sources of energy have a lower environmental impact on nature than conventional energy technologies.

Have you a project in mind?

Are you expanding your business, wishing to hire more staff, maybe you want to upskill? Don‘t be held back - Dublin Rural LEADER have the resources to assist people like you to reach your full potential.

Is your project eligible?
Find out if your project meets the criteria
Discuss the project, eligibility and funding with the team
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