Dáil Éireann - Volume 467 - 18 June, 1996

Written Answers. - Participation in International Bodies.

94. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Finance the mechanisms in place to afford the Government a voice in the utilisation by the World Bank and the International Monetary fund of the funds mandated to them by the Government of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12772/96]

Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): Ireland participates in the Bretton Woods institutions as a full member state. Almost all of the powers of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund lie, initially, with the board of governors. Each member state is represented by one governor, usually a Minister. In Ireland's case, the Minister for Finance is the Governor on the [97] boards of both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Ireland's voice is exercised at the jointly held annual meetings of both bodies where the board of governors agree on the policies, budgets etc. of the relevant bodies. In addition, such occasions offer opportunities for informal exchanges which occur on the fringes of the formal meetings.

The board of governors in practice delegates its authority to a much smaller group of representatives — the board of executive directors. There are 24 executive directors in the Bank and in the Fund. The boards are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organisation. The executive directors also present to the board of governors an audit of accounts, an administrative budget, the annual report and any other matters that, in their judgment require submission to the board of governors. Matters may be submitted to the board of governors at its annual meetings or at any time during the year.

At board of directors level, Ireland shares a constituency with Canada and certain Caribbean countries. In each case Canada holds the executive directorship. In both institutions Ireland has resident representation at the board. In the case of the IMF, Ireland is represented by an alternate director; in the case of the World Bank by an adviser to the executive director. The Irish authorities maintain ongoing contact with the directors concerned through our resident representatives. The directors also visit the Irish authorities for direct consultations.

In the context of the World Bank Group, it is relevant that Ireland participates in the International Development Association (IDA). This association is an affiliate of the World Bank which makes finance available to the poorest countries at concessional terms. The overall policies of the IDA are negotiated at regular intervals on an inter-governmental basis. Approval of projects under the IDA mandate is at the level of the Board of Directors, which is the same as that of the World Bank.