Rural Development Programme 

LEADER is an EU funded programme to support activities to improve the quality of life in rural areas and to diversify the rural economy. The programme has been delivered in a number of different stages since 1991 and in its current incarnation as part of the Rural Development Programme it is delivered by a network of 35 Local Development Companies throughout Ireland.

Today LEADER exists as part of the Rural Development Programme and the supports on offer from Local Development Companies delivering the programme range from advice, training, mentoring and support to develop a business plan to the allocation of capital funding.

The  2007 – 2013 programme supported seven measures to improve the quality of rural life and the rural economy which included:

Assisting farmers to diversify into non-agricultural activities

Support for the creation and development of micro-enterprises

Support for tourism activities

Provision of basic services for the rural economy and population

Village renewal and enhancement

Support for conservation and upgrading of rural heritage

Training to develop skills and build the capacity of local communities to develop local strategies. 

Since the start of the current programme over €87 million has been invested into the rural economy to support a range of projects under these seven measures.


The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government will administer the LEADER element of the Rural Development Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. There are  six priorities for rural development  and the LEADER elements will be programmed to address Priority 6   which is:


Promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas.


Each member state is carrying out consultation to develop measures to address this priority.

As part of the Government reforms in 2014, a new structure, is being established ‘Local Community Development Committee’s (LCDC’s) under the auspices and control of the administrators of the Local Authorities in Ireland. The proposed local government reforms will firstly see the two core programmes, namely The Local and Community Development Programme and LEADER which have been delivered for almost twenty years by Local Development Companies, transfer in the main to the LCDC’s.  There have been assurances that existing Local Development Companies will have a place in the new structure but there is also widespread concern that the existing link between the community and Local Development Companies like GRD could be severed forever, with the loss of skills and expertise built up over many years.  It is hoped that the new programme will be finalised towards the end of 2014. In the meantime GRD are maintaining a database of groups, businesses and individuals who wish to apply for funds under the new programme so please contact the main office number for more information.

Community Employment SCHEME

The CE Scheme is designed to help people who are in receipt of a social welfare payment for one year or more to re-enter the active workforce...Read More

Rural Social Scheme

This Scheme provides for low-income farmers and fishermen who are unable to earn an adequate living from their farm holding/fishing, to earn a supplementary income....Read More

North East Galway Rural Transport

Funding from the Department of Transport for the provision of transport services in the NE Galway area....Read More


Home-Start Athenry is voluntary group in which volunteers visit families with young children in their own home, offering friendship, emotional support and practical help....Read More


The provision of Tús was announced in the Budget 2011 and aims to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed and to provide certain services of benefit to communities....Read More

Welcome to the Galway Rural Development website. Galway Rural Development, through the programmes we administer, will continue to work along with other agencies, groups and individuals around the county to improve the quality of life for all citizens in our area. We especially wish to work with those who are most in need of assistance, to provide real opportunities for people to gain significant improvements for themselves and their communities throughout rural Galway.

Funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.