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Written Answers. - European Union Funding.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

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 104. Mr. B. Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith  asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the specific funding, if any, that will be available to his Department or to agencies under the aegis of his Department from the European Union's Operational Programme for Peace and Reconciliation; the programmes that will be undertaken; if funds have been allocated, if so, the projects that were assisted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4577/96]

[803]Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the Initiative in question rests with the Department of Finance in conjunction with the Department of the Taoiseach. EU Structural funding amounting to 300 million ecu will be provided initially for a three year period, of which 240 million ecu has been allocated to Northern Ireland, with the balance of 60 million ecu being allocated to the Border counties in Ireland. The 60 million ecu derives from three funds, viz European Social Fund (20 mecu) European Regional Development Fund (35 mecu) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (3.5 mecu).

No specific funding is available to my Department or its agencies as such under the initiative. However, my Department has central responsibility for drawing-down aid from the European Social Fund in respect of the Initiative, as well as for all other ESF funded programmes.

The 20.625 mecu ESF funding will be distributed to projects which are approved for assistance under the Initiative. The selection of projects for Social Fund aid will primarily be made by Area Development Management Ltd. and the Combat Poverty Agency, which are specified in the operational programme as day-to-day management agencies for the initiative in the Border counties of Ireland.

In effect, therefore, my Department's main role in the programme is to act as a conduit for the ESF component of the financial transfers between Brussels and the management agencies and to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations.

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