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Doherty organises major Rural Development Programme Seminar

3 June, 2008

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty has organised a major seminar in the Mellon Country Hotel next Thursday 12th June at 3pm in preparation for the imminent roll out of the £500 million Rural Development Programme and has invited Michelle Gildernew MP, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development to West Tyrone to meet directly with rural community groups and interested individuals who wish to access funding from the Programme.

The local MP has sent out invitations to approximately 400 community groups throughout West Tyrone as well as all elected representatives from all parties in the Constituency to attend the seminar.

Speaking ahead of the event Pat Doherty said,

"The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is in the process of rolling out the Rural Development Programme (2007-13). The programme, which amounts to approximately £500 million, is primarily designed to assist development in deprived rural communities and axis 3 of this programme is administered by Local Action Groups (LAG's) within each council cluster area.

"The Councils of Derry, Limavady, Omagh and Strabane have come together as a cluster for the purposes of the delivery of the RDP. Axis 3, which amounts to approximately £100 million has been further subdivided into measures 3.1 (Farm Diversification), 3.2 (Microbusiness), 3.3 (Tourism), 3.4 (Access to basic services), 3.5 (Village regeneration) and 3.6 (Built heritage).

"At this stage, the LAG formation process within the NW cluster area is well underway, and I understand that the LAG will be in place by the time of the Minister's visit. The LAG's remit is to consult locally and submit a Rural Development Strategy and Local Action Plan to DARD and to ensure the effective delivery of the strategy until 2013.

"The objective is to this seminar is to give rural groups the opportunity to become fully informed about the potential opportunities that exist within the fund for the communities they represent.

"The gathering will also be addressed by Alison McCullagh, Head of Development of Omagh District Council. Omagh Council are the lead partners in the North West cluster and this will be an opportunity to get an update on progress at local level.

"The seminar is a golden opportunity for community groups and local elected representatives to meet directly with the Minister as she is on the verge of implementing one of the most unprecedented and ambitious programmes aimed at empowering rural communities.

"During the meeting there will be an opportunity to ask questions of the Minister and her officials and hear at first hand the opportunities that will exist for your group and the communities you represent. So as well as encouraging as many of those who received written invitations as possible to attend I would also like to extend an open invitation to any member of the public who may be interested in attending." ENDS

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