Dáil Éireann - Volume 433 - 08 July, 1993

Written Answers. - North-South Initiatives.

75. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he will set aside a percentage of the EC Structural Funds available to this country for North-South initiatives; and if so, the proportion he intends to set aside for this purpose.

Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): At present, the main provision of EC Structural Funds support for North-South initiatives is under the INTERREG Community initiative. Under this initiative Ireland and Northern Ireland have a joint programme designed to promote cross-Border co-operation and the economic development of the Border area. The eligible areas under the programme are all of Northern Ireland except Belfast and Counties Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo.

The Commission have yet to announce what Community initiatives it will be proposing in the 1994-99 period but it seems [1901] certain that there will be a further INTERREG initiative which I welcome.

Furthermore, the Irish and British Governments wish to develop and enhance the co-operative dimension in their respective national development plans and Community Support Frameworks for the 1994-99 period and there have been discussions between Departments in the North and South with this in view. Suitable co-operative and complementary actions will be supported as they arise under relevant programmes. It is not, however, intended to set aside any specific proportion of EC aid for such actions.