Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 08 February, 2006
Written Answers. - Dormant Accounts Fund.
Mr. Boyle Mr. Boyle
114. Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on recent remarks made by a person (details supplied) regarding the changes in the dormant fund allocation system which he claims has made the system less accessible and accountable. [4339/06]
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
Mr. N. Ahern: The Deputy will be aware that I have outlined in the House on a number of occasions the reasons the Government decided to make changes to the dormant accounts scheme. In summary, these were to fully address governance and accountability issues and to provide for greater transparency in decision-making on disbursements.
On 4 January 2006, I announced details concerning the allocation of €24 million from the dormant accounts fund in 2006 for the purpose of supporting programmes and types of projects tackling social and economic disadvantage. Details of the announcement are available on the website of my Department at www.pobail.ie and are set out below in Appendix 1 for the Deputy’s information. Following this announcement, there was a certain amount of media coverage including an interview on national radio with a representative from Integrated Rural Development, Kiltimagh concerning the changes introduced by Government on dormant accounts.
There may have been an impression given in the interview that Pobal, formerly Area Development Management Limited, was previously the decision-making authority with regard to disbursements from the dormant accounts fund. This is clearly not the case. The Dormant Accounts Fund Disbursements Board engaged Pobal as a service provider to administer the initial round of funding on its behalf. In this regard, Pobal  received and evaluated applications and submitted its advice to the board which then made decisions on whether applications should be approved.
Under the new arrangements, recently put in place by Government, applications will be received and assessed against published criteria by or on behalf of public bodies and the results of such assessments will be submitted to the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The Minister will then submit the results of the assessments to the Government for approval. It is anticipated that Pobal will, in the main, be engaged as a service provider to again carry out the function of receiving and assessing applications similar to its role for the former board.
Press Release 04 January 2006
€24 MILLION DORMANT ACCOUNTS FUNDING
TO BE TARGETED AT SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE
Noel Ahern, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Éamon Ó Cuív T.D. Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs today announced that the Government has approved the categories under which €24 million from dormant accounts will be spent in 2006 on programmes and projects tackling social and economic disadvantage.
The Dormant Accounts legislation targets three broad categories of persons for support from the Dormant Accounts Fund:
[middot] those affected by economic and social disadvantage;
[middot] those affected by educational disadvantage; and
[middot] persons with a disability.
Today’s announcement relates solely to the Social and Economic Category. The programmes and types of projects in this category will aim to ensure that particular priority is given to the areas designated by Government as most disadvantaged i.e. RAPID, CLÁR and Drugs Task Force areas (see Editor’s note).
The funding announced today will focus on:
[middot] RAPID Programme — up to 50% of the overall funding will be ring-fenced to  provide additional supports for priority projects in RAPID areas;
[middot] Support for Priority Themes — funding for specific measures supporting youth, older people and other priority themes — including suicide prevention; alcohol misuse; supports for immigrant families; supports for offenders/ex-offenders;
[middot] Support for Jointly Funded Flagship Projects — funding for innovative measures addressing matters of major public concern, which also involve substantial funding from private, philanthropic or community sources.
“I am very pleased that a significant level of spending will go directly towards projects in areas designated by Government as suffering particular disadvantage. I also believe that the money aimed at jointly funded flagship projects will lever significant additional funding from private and other sources.”
Noel Ahern T.D., Minister of State, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs
Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D., Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, strongly welcomed the Government decision. He indicated his intention to bring proposals to Government soon in relation to additional Dormant Accounts funding under the Educational Disadvantage Category and the Disability Category.
RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning Investment and Development) is a focused initiative designed to prioritise and target Government expenditure, over a number of Departments, on the most concentrated centres of disadvantage in the country. Strand 1 targets 25 urban centres while Strand II targets 20 provincial towns.
CLÁR (Ceantair Laga Ard-Riachtanais) is a similar type initiative targeting rural areas and the islands. It funds and provides co-funding for measures designed to support physical, community and social infrastructure.
Drug Task Forces
Drug Task Forces (DTFs) operate in the areas experiencing the worse levels of drug misuse, particularly heroin. The role of the DTFs is to prepare local action plans, which include a range of measures to tackle drug misuse in the areas of treatment, rehabilitation, education, prevention and curbing local supply.
Dáil Éireann 614 Written Answers. Dormant Accounts Fund.