Governance, government, Leader, Ireland
Central states allocated responsibility for local development actions to a range of private, community and voluntary organisations in many European countries, over the past three decades. This phenomenon has been viewed as undermining the roles and influence of local government. In rural areas, the principle of subsidiarity in the LEADER programme was influential in such delegation of responsibilities. This paper has the objective of analysing the changing relationships between local government and local governance associated with LEADER, using Ireland as an example. Ireland assumes particular interest because new governance structures were accompanied in many cases by new territorial areas which did not coincide with the local government county units and LEADER was truly innovative. The method consists of a critical analysis of government policy documents, evaluations of the LEADER programme in Ireland and experience of researching a number of the governance partnerships. The results illustrate the modalities through which local government may gain influence over local governance structures and extend its remits with the support of central government.