Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 20 March, 1997
Written Answers. - EU Project Funding.
Kathleen Lynch Kathleen Lynch
11. Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the progress, if any, made to date on those projects being funded under the EU maritime INTERREG programme. [6014/97]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn) Ruairí Quinn
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): The joint Ireland-Wales INTERREG Programme 1994-1999 is centred on the main Irish sea routes between Ireland and Wales. The eligible areas include the Dublin, mid-east and south-east regional authority areas in Ireland and the former Gwyned and Dyfed County regions of Wales. The programme is divided into sub-programmes, maritime development which covers transport, transport information and marine and coastal environment protection measures and economic development co-operation including tourism and cultural co-operation. The programme was approved by the Commission on 28 July 1995.
At the last joint monitoring committee in October 1996 it was reported that a total of 84 projects, of which 65 were cross-Border and 19 stand alone, had been considered by the joint sub-programme working groups. These groups are composed of representatives of the relevant State and other agencies with responsibility for  each sector. At that stage, 49 projects had been approved or approved in principle and 15 deferred, one withdrawn and 19 rejected. Approximately £40 million in EU funding had been committed to these projects whose total value amounts to £67 million. Grant expenditure was reported as 17.115 mecu, or approximately £12.5 million. Considerable progress has been made in the transport measures, where funding for major projects involving harbour developments in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin and Rosslare and for improvements to road and rail connections had already been approved. Implementation of the remainder of the programme has been somewhat slower, but this is to be expected, as it is dependent mainly on the development of smaller joint projects involving a wide range of promoters from both eligible areas. Despite the fact that the programme was not preceded by an INTERREG I programme in 1992/1994 there has been a high level of interest, with over 1,000 information packs issued to interested groups. These and other inquiries are being followed up by the INTERREG development officers with a view to generating suitable projects for consideration by the joint sub-programme working groups.
At present the programme is undergoing a mid-term review by independent consultants in accordance with the requirements of the programme. Their report will address its effectiveness to date in meeting its objectives and its impact on economic and other indicators for the region. The joint monitoring committee will receive a presentation on the report at its next meeting in May. When the final report is presented in June it will be examined by the committee with a view to taking any necessary action to ensure that the programme remains on course to meet its objectives and expenditure targets over the remainder of its time period.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. EU Project Funding.