Dáil Éireann - Volume 515 - 07 March, 2000

Written Answers. - Departmental Funding.

26. Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he will provide increased funding for the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Multi-culturalism arising from the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6843/00]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): The Programme for Prosperity and Fairness, Framework III, paragraph 38, contains a commitment to the provision of additional funding to the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism to enable it to undertake additional measures to address racism, to promote positive inclusion of minority ethnic groups, and to develop public awareness initiatives at both national and local level.

Since its establishment in July 1998, the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism has received an increase each year in its funding. In 1998, it received £20,000. This amount was increased to £90,000 in 1999, which was the committee's first full year of operation, and an allocation of £150,000 has been provided to the committee to fund its operations this year. The committee has also been provided by my Department with an office premises and facilities in Dublin. In addition to funding provided by my Department, I understand £50,000 has been allocated to the committee by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, under the community development programme to establish a community development support unit for community groups working with refugees and asylum seekers.

The Government has agreed the need for initiatives to combat racism attacks through informing public opinion and promoting a more tolerant inclusive society. It has approved proposals on plans for an evaluation of the strategy and resources needed to plan, implement and review the development of such initiatives, within a very short time frame. The proposals are based [1490] on the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Integration, which recommends that the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism should carry out the evaluation. Specific funding will be made available to the NCCRI for this purpose in a matter of weeks.