It's being claimed this week by a North West MEP that current proposals from Minister Phil Hogan and his department will totally undermine the LEADER model of local development and will wipe out meaningful community and voluntary involvement in the sector.
Marian Harkin was speaking after meeting this week with LEADER groups in Brussels.
She claims what the minister and his department call a realignment amounts to nothing less than a power grab to further centralise and control decision-making.
The new model would see County Managers take a central role, with Ms Harkin fearful this would be used by the minister as an excuse to cut local authority funding.
She says the essence of LEADER has always been the distribution of funds directly to local communities, and that's the way it should stay.........