Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Taylor: asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason Ireland has not participated in the Resettlement Fund of the Council of Europe, thereby depriving local and other authorities of the right to participate in low interest loans in the field of regional development, housing and other matters covered by the resettlement fund scheme.
Mr. P. Barry: The question of Irish participation in the Resettlement Fund of the Council of Europe has been reviewed from time to time. Ireland has not become a member of the fund because of the limited scope for borrowing available from the fund as compared to other sources. Also, the fund offers terms which are less attractive than are available elsewhere — for example, from the European Investment Bank. Accession to the fund could also involve a departure from current policy in regard to loan guarantees and exchange risk guarantees.
Mr. P. Barry: We have never contributed to the fund but that does not mean that we will not do so in the future. I believe the fund lent £250 million last year but I do not know the exact size of the fund. I can get that information for the Deputy and send it to him.
Mr. P. Barry: The fund was originally set up to deal with the relocation of refugees in Europe about 30 years ago. The fund is being investigated at present because it appears to have expanded its role beyond what was originally intended. The participating states feel it needs to have its role defined and they  are doing that at present. The fund will probably have a new mandate and a new role later this year and we will be looking at it to see if we should join.
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