Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Written Answers. - Southern Border Counties Funding.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 137 Next Page Last Page

 16. Mr. B. Ahern Information on Bertie Ahern Zoom on Bertie Ahern  asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the funds from the EU and other sources available for the southern Border counties; the funds that are additional or consequent on the peace process; and the purposes for which they have been or will be used in each of the years from 1994 to 1996. [3928/96]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The total expenditure anticipated in the Border counties under the main programmes administered by my Department within the period in question is as follows:

  £million
Human Resources Development Programme 201
Programme for Industrial Development 79
Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation 11
County Enterprise Boards 3.3
INTERREG Programme 2.2

In addition there is a range of smaller programmes administered by my Department and its agencies which fund developments in the Border counties. I propose to notify the precise details of all of these programmes, as requested by the Deputy, in the form of a statement for circulation in the official report.

The following is the statement:

Under the Operational Programme for Industrial Development 1994-1999 the following amounts of EU funding have been or will be spent in the Border sub-region for each of the years 1994 to 1996:

[730] Industry Operational Programme

  EU Aid Exch Matching Exch non-matching
  £000   £000
1994 9,443 4,815 8,178
1995 14,191 4,651 7,729
1996 16,853 5,637 7,496
Total 40,487 15,103 23,403

No additional funds have been made available to the Industry OP as a consequence of the peace process.

The purpose of the programme is to promote the development of a strong internationally competitive enterprise sector in Ireland.

Human Resources Development Operational Programme

Details of funding envisaged under the Human Resources Development Operational Programme in the Border region from 1994 to 1996 are as follows. Figures for 1994 reflect actual expenditure; figures for 1995 and 1996 are forecasts.

Year EU aid spent/ available IR£ Exchequer matching funding Exchequer Non Co-financed funds
1994 25,402,000 9,332,000 45,977,000
1995 25,272,000 9,357,000 25,740,000
1996 26,041,000 9,637,000 24,690,000
Totals 76,715,000 28,326,000 96,407,000

This programme contains a range of measures which will meet the training and educational needs of many different groups in Irish society and will contribute to enhanced economic development. Activity under the programme is delivered by FÁS, the Department of Education, the National Rehabilitation Board and the Department of Justice.

[731] No additional funds have been provided under this operational programme as a consequence of the peace process.

EMPLOYMENT and ADAPT

Initiatives

My Department is also responsible for the administration of the Human Resources Community Initiatives — EMPLOYMENT and ADAPT — which address issues or problems of particular target groups in an innovative fashion involving the expertise which exists at local level. The total EU budget available to these initiatives in the period 1995-99 is approximately £85 million — representing an intervention rate of 75 per cent of total eligible costs. Projects are approved on the basis of their ability to meet the criteria for the Initiatives set by the European Commission and, while the location of projects is considered, it is not a determining factor in approving them. The outcome of the selection procedures under these initiatives is currently being finalised.

The Small Business Operational Programme has a total value of IR£53.317 million, of which IR£23.213 million is EU funded. The programme does not have a separate allocation for the southern Border counties. Measure 1 of the operational programme provides the funding to subsidise the access to finance scheme. Based on draw down of loans in the southern Border counties the cost of subsidising southern Border county loans under the scheme is estimated as follows.

Border Counties

  1994 1995 1996(to 28/2/96)
  IR£ IR£ IR£
EU 2,544 9,507
Exchequer 1,339 5,004
Private 3,445 12,876

[732] The small business operational programme was not drawn up consequent on the peace process.

County Enterprise Boards

Total expenditure in the five southern Border counties was £832,299 in 1994 and £2,478,759 in 1995. The 1994 expenditure was met in full from Exchequer resources, while that provided in 1995 will be significantly supported from EU funds. Because of the administrative procedures which govern the operational programme which provides funding to the county enterprise boards, the precise level of EU assistance available to them in 1995 cannot yet be definitively established. It will, however, be of the order of 75 per cent of eligible expenditure.

No additional funds were made available to the boards in 1995 as a direct result of the peace process. However, all the Border boards have been acutely aware of the possibilities of the peace process for development and renewal of the Border area in general and of the funding possibilities available under other programmes to support initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social environment in their areas.

EU Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties of Ireland.

This initiative provides EU funding as a direct consequence of the peace process. A total of IR£8.249 million is available from the European Social Fund for the Border counties of Ireland over the period 1994 to 1996 inclusive. The breakdown of funds by year is as follows:

Year EU aid availableIR£ National matching funding
1994
1995 1,649,600 550,400
1996 6,600,000 2,199,200
Totals 8,249,600 2,749,600

[733] No expenditure has as yet been incurred under this initiative. Project assessment and selection is expected to commence shortly. The selection of projects will be carried out by Area Development Management Ltd, and the Combat Poverty Agency, which have been specified in the operational programme as day-to-day management agencies for the border counties for the initiative.

INTERREG (Ireland/Northern Ireland)

Initiative

Expenditure under this programme is as follows:

Year EU aid available IR£ National matching funding
1994
1995 608,800 304,800
1996 884,000 424,800
Totals 1,492,800 729,600

The programme aims at improving cross-Border co-operation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. European Social Fund aid is provided for vocational education and employment training. Projects under this initiative are currently being assessed by a North/South Working Group and decisions on applications will be made shortly.

Wider Horizons Project

A sum of £3.5 million was received from the International Fund for Ireland for the Wider Horizons Project in 1994; a total of £5 million was received for 1995 and an additional £3 million has been approved for 1996. Approximately one-third of this funding has been made available to the southern border counties. The British and Irish Exchequer and other sources provide matching funding, amounting to approximately 40 per cent of the total cost.

The Wider Horizons Project is a programme funded by the International Fund for Ireland, and administered by FÁS. Its objective is to foster mutual [734] understanding and reconciliation and to promote economic and social advance through vocational preparation, training and development and work experience provision for young people.

Priority is given to projects which address the issue of social exclusion in relation to the labour market. The wide range of projects supported to date has assisted up to 60 per cent of the participants to find full-time or part-time employment.

Under the RETEX Operational Programme 1993-97 the following amounts of EU funding have been or will be spent in the Border sub-region for each of the years 1994 to 1996:

RETEX Operational Programme

  EU Aid Exch Matching Exch non-matching
  £000 £000 £000
1994 191 0 0
1995 270 0 0
1996 1,000 0 0
Total 1,461 0 0

No additional funds have been available to the RETEX Operational Programme in foot of the peace process.

The purpose of this programme is to help support the acceleration of economic activities in regions heavily dependent on the textile and clothing sector.

Initiatives which involve Forbairt are also relevant in the context of the Deputy's question.

The Northern American Partnership Programme

This is a joint International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and Forbairt initiative. It is designed to facilitate the formation of strategic alliances between companies located in the Border counties and compatible US-based operations. The programme is focused primarily on companies operating in the international services and high technology manufacturing sectors. Forbairt has the lead role in managing the programme which is jointly funded by the International Fund [735] and Forbairt with the International Fund contributing £300,000 over a two year period, commencing spring 1995. Substantial progress has been achieved with the eight companies included in phase one of the programme.

The American Management and Business Internship Training Programme

This provides support for managers and technical experts from Northern Ireland and the Border counties. The programme, launched at the Washington Conference, is sponsored by the US Department of Commerce in collaboration with the International Fund for Ireland and is administered at regional level by Forbairt in the Border counties and by the Training and Employment Agency in Northern Ireland.

Ambit

This is designed to offer hands-on training in US host firms for managers and technical experts with the objective of giving such key personnel access to new technology, product development opportunities and best management practices. It also encourages the formation of inter-company strategic alliances. A number of companies from the Border counties are currently participating in the programme, and already a number of strategic alliances between Irish and US companies are at an advanced stage.

The International Fund for Ireland has committed some $425,000 to date, the US Department of Commerce $85,000 plus staff resources, while Forbairt and the Training and Employment Agency have expended modest amounts towards the promotion and administration of the programme. It is anticipated that some ten companies each year located in the Border counties will participate in the programme over the next three years.


Last Updated: 21/04/2015 10:38:03 First Page Previous Page Page of 137 Next Page Last Page