Dáil Éireann - Volume 345 - 16 November, 1983

Written Answers. - EEC Funds.

283. Mr. Blaney asked the Minister for Finance if he will detail the amount of financial assistance which was available to Ireland from the EEC for 1982 and which was not taken up by the Government [2546] or its agencies; and the reasons the moneys available were not utilised.

Minister for Finance (Mr. Dukes): It is assumed that the Deputy's question relates to the difference between commitments entered into by the Community in respect of Ireland and the payments received. On that basis the details are as follows:

1. European Regional Development Fund

Quota Section

At the end of 1982 IR£65.5m was due to Ireland in respect of commitments entered into by the Commission in 1982 and previous years.

Payments from the fund are made in line with member states expenditure on the approved projects. The IR£65.5m outstanding at the end of 1982 will, accordingly, be paid in this and subsequent years.

Non-quota Section

At the end of 1982 IR£0.2m was due to Ireland in respect of commitments previously entered into by the Commission. This amount was received in the first quarter of 1983.

2. European Social Fund

The amount of financial assistance committed by the Commission in respect of 1982 operations was IR£85.5 million. The amount received to date is IR£57.4 million. In addition an amount of IR£6.6 million has been claimed but has not yet been paid. To allow for processing and certification of final claims the Commission allows up to 18 months after the completion of projects for the submission of claims. Accordingly it is not possible at this stage to give a total amount of the moneys which will be received in respect of 1982.

3. FEOGA Guidance and Maritime Surveillance

For most guidance measures the level of national exchequer expenditure in 1981 created commitments for repayments from FEOGA to Ireland in 1982. These repayments were received in full.

[2547] In 1981, the Community authorised the introduction of a free pre-movement testing scheme as part of Ireland's accelerated programme for animal disease eradication. Under the scheme the Exchequer was to meet the cost of pre-movement testing and recoup 50 per cent from the Community in the following year. The scheme was postponed in 1981 as part of the measures announced in the 1981 July budget. Consequently, no recoupment was received from the EEC in 1982.

The Programme for Western Development approved by the Community in 1980 envisaged expenditure of approximately IR£13.8m in 1982. Of that amount IR£8.483m has been received and the outstanding amount has been carried forward for payment in 1983. Expenditure on the programme for 1982 was less than forecast because of low demand from the farming community; demand has improved somewhat in 1983.

Payments totalling IR£2,197,248 were requested from the FEOGA Guidance Section in 1982 in respect of arterial drainage projects in the Western Region. A payment of IR£397,248 was received in 1982. However, as the payment of the balance of IR£1.8m would have exceeded the total funds available under Directive 78/628 EEC for arterial drainage, that amount fell for payment under Council Regulation 2195/81 and was approved for payment by the Commission on 11 November 1983. It should be received shortly.

In 1978 the EEC Commission agreed to participate in the financing of Irish fishery protection measures to the extent of IR£31 million approximately (46m ECU) over the years 1977 to 1982 inclusive. The Commission made annual provision for the expected claims from Ireland. These claims were made each year on the basis of expenditure during the previous year. Because design work in Verolme Cork Dockyards on a new vessel during 1981 took longer than expected, the claim from Ireland in 1982 was less than hoped for. A sum of IR£81,391 was received from the EEC that year. Expenditure in 1982 was substantial and in 1983, following an extension [2548] of the recoupment period, a large claim was submitted which leaves only £1 million approximately to be claimed in 1984.