Wednesday, 25 January 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mrs. Lemass: asked the Minister for Labour the reason an application for aid from the European Social Fund for a pilot project concerning the training of 30 school leavers which was first submitted to the European Social Fund office of his Department in November 1981 and subsequently completed in accordance with all the required criteria of the fund in May 1982, has never been transmitted to the EEC Commission in Brussels, while at the same time this pilot project has been warmly received and approved by the Department of Economic Development in Northern Ireland, the European Social Fund office in London and was indeed forwarded by them to the Commission in Brussels.
Minister for Labour (Mr. Quinn): The application in question was not transmitted to the European Commission because it did not comply with the requirements of the European Social Fund governing application for assistance for pilot training projects. In particular, the applicant was unable to produce evidence of financial resources or capacity to complete the proposed project, even if Social Fund assistance were forthcoming. This is an  essential pre-requisite before fund assistance can be considered for pilot projects as the fund normally contributes only 50 per cent of the cost.
The application form which was received by my Department in May 1982 was returned to the applicant with a detailed explanation of what needed to be done in order to bring the application into compliance with fund requirements. Officials of my Department had numerous discussions with the applicant and, in order to assist her further, the Department arranged two special meetings for her in Dublin with officials from the Social Fund Directorate of the Commission who also gave her the fullest advice and assistance. The applicant indicated that she would submit a fully completed application, including in particular evidence of financial resources, by 1 August 1982, but did not do so.
I have had inquiries made concerning the question of an approach by the applicant to the Department of Economic Development in Northern Ireland. I understand that the applicant did make such an approach but that an application on her behalf was not sent to Brussels.
If the applicant can complete a valid Social Fund application in line with the requirements advised to her by officials of my Department and the Commission, I will be glad to ensure that it is given every consideration. I should point out, however, that the rules of the Social Fund have recently been revised and that new conditions have now been introduced for pilot training schemes. I would further point out that since my recent appointment I have personally met the applicant on two occasions, the last one in the Department, where the matters above were explained in detail. I have undertaken to examine fully the situation and reply directly to her.
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