Seanad Éireann - Volume 175 - 26 February, 2004

Matter raised under Standing Order 30.

  Mr. U. Burke: I thank the Chair for accepting this request and the Leader of the House for taking it this afternoon. It arises out of concerns expressed at the meeting here of the Council of Ministers under the chairmanship of the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Kitt, during the past week. Yesterday we debated the issue of the existence of dormant accounts in our own jurisdiction. There are dormant accounts of far greater proportions within the EU. In excess of $14 billion worth of funding lies unspent that was originally earmarked for very worthy projects throughout Africa, in particular, south-east Asia, and the Third World generally. That is a serious indictment of the structures within the EU.

I ask the Leader to request the Minister of State to force through whatever measures are necessary to ensure these funds remain dormant no longer. A reply in the European Parliament from the Commissioner last year on why this money was not spent was so woolly as to beggar belief. All sorts of excuses have been made, from wars to security and whatever else. I ask that the Minister come here for a full debate or to make a statement of his intention to ensure that the Irish Presidency will not pass without every penny being spent so that the 6,000 people who die daily in the Third World will not continue to do so while there is money that could alleviate that difficulty. It is an indictment of EU structures and amounts to criminal negligence.