Dáil Éireann - Volume 446 - 26 October, 1994

Written Answers. - INTERREG Programme.

108. Mr. Leonard asked the Minister for Finance the steps, if any, which are being taken to ensure that there is a better takeup of funding for cross-border projects in INTERREG 2 in view of the disappointing takeup in the previous programme. [2317/94]

Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): I would not agree that the take up of funding for cross-Border projects under the first INTERREG programme was disappointing, particularly since it was the first structural fund programme of its kind. Out of a total of over 600 applications for assistance under the programme some 130 applications in respect of projects with a significant cross-Border impact were received of which over two-thirds were assisted.

The guidelines for the new INTERREG Programme place a considerable emphasis on cross-Border co-operative projects under the new programme. While it is expected that worthwhile “stand-alone” projects will continue to be eligible for funding I would expect to see a considerable increase in the number of good quality cross-Border projects coming forward [1002] under the new programme. I am confident, particularly in the light of ongoing developments in relation to the “Peace Process” that this will happen.

Work on the preparation of the new programme is well advanced. Measures to increase the promotion of INTERREG in the Border region are under consideration and it is proposed to involve State and semi-State organisations, together with relevant social partner and other relevant bodies in a concerted and integrated manner to this end.