Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - European Social Fund.

Thursday, 13 April 1972

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 260 No. 2

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15.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Labour if there is any deadline for the submission of plans to the EEC which will enable Ireland to draw on the European Social Fund from 1st January, 1973.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  There is no such deadline.

I should like, however, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to avail of this opportunity to give the House a brief outline of the position in regard to assistance from the European Social Fund.

The fund has been reorganised and the intention of the Commission of the EEC is to have the reorganised fund in operation by the 1st May next.

It is up to each country to make its own applications for assistance from [244] the fund. The fund is, of course, a continuing institution and applications are made according as schemes or projects which are eligible for assistance from it arise.

Ireland will be eligible to benefit from the fund as from the date of accession. My Department is keeping in close touch with the Commission so as to be fully informed of the relevant procedures which are still evolving. In this way I hope to ensure that our first application will be ready for submission to the EEC Commission immediately on accession.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Could the Minister tell me if the Commission require to examine these schemes before they begin to pay money?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I imagine they would.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would the Minister not agree that if we wish to get money from 1st January, 1973, we would need to send a scheme in before that date and possibly three or four months before it?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Usually there is a deadline for member states. For instance, existing members applying this year must have their applications in by 1st June. I take it there is a time in which these applications are all processed and examined. I should not say that sending the application in earlier would mean any earlier examination. Surely the Deputy does not expect we shall be paid on 1st January?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Is it not a fact that we shall be members from 1st January and surely any schemes operating then would be eligible for the EEC fund as from 1st January? Would the Minister not tell me when he proposes to submit schemes for examination so that payment can commence from EEC from 1st January?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I do not know whether the Commission would process applications by a country that is not yet a ratified member. I told the Deputy in my reply that our application would be ready for submission by 1st January.

[245]Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Would it not be advisable to submit the application earlier if you want to get benefit from 1st January?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  I do not think benefit would be payable immediately.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Why not?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Because there must be an examination of the claims.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Can the Minister not have them examined in advance?

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  We are not yet members.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  We cannot discuss this question all evening.


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