Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA, has attended an event at Killeavy Castle in Newry to celebrate Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership’s success in delivering his Department’s Rural Development ‘LEADER’ Programme.
In total, 76 projects across the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council area received funding, with 14 community facilities developed or refurbished and over 33,000 people benefitting from support under the village renewal measure.
Praising the success of the Programme during a speech at the event, Minister Poots said: “I want to congratulate the members of the Mourne, Gullion and Lecale Rural Development Partnership for their work in delivering Priority 6 of the NI Rural Development ‘LEADER’ Programme. This programme has provided £15million worth of investment in local rural areas, which has improved people’s lives by creating over 160 new jobs, supporting village renewal and improving infrastructure.”
The Minister also referenced his recent statement to the NI Assembly regarding Northern Ireland’s first ever Rural Policy Framework, saying: “I want to create a new programme going forward that will be completely tailored to our own unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. The Framework will see a new Rural Business and Community Investment Programme that will cover the next 7 years and will support my Department’s vision of putting sustainability at the heart of a living, working, active landscape valued by everyone. It will also demonstrate our ongoing commitment to ensuring that rural communities flourish and prosper through our continued support and investment in initiatives that will make a tangible difference to those living and working in rural areas.”
The Chairperson of MGL, Roisin Mulgrew commented: “The delivery of this programme has brought significant benefits to the rural dwellers of Newry, Mourne and Down and is testament to the dedication of the Local Action Group. The knowledge of the members has ensured projects of high quality have been supported, which have positively impacted on the lives of the rural dwellers.”
Councillor Cathy Mason, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said: “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s partnership with the Local Action Group and DAERA has been extremely successful in the delivery of this Programme. The positive impacts have ensured a strong rural economy, providing dwellers with access to high quality community facilities, towns and villages they can be proud to call home.”