Wednesday, 29 June 1994
Dáil Éireann Debate
73. Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment whether the recent EU Commission decisions on funding has meant changes in the strategy to be pursued by his Department under the National Development Plan, 1994 to 1999.
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. Quinn): There will be no change in the industrial development strategy being pursued by my Department and by the agencies under its aegis. This strategy seeks to promote the development of a strong internationally competitive enterprise sector in Ireland through a variety of measures designed to improve the capabilities and capacity of Irish industry as well as to attract new inward investment. It is not anticipated that the decisions on the availability of EU funding will materially affect the  achievement of the job creation targets for industrial development contained in the National Development Plan.
The recent decisions taken by the European Commission on Structural Funds assistance for training and employment measures are very welcome. They fully endorse the Government's policy as set down in the National Development Plan, to significantly focus on skills development to assist economic growth and to provide programmes to integrate the unemployed, particularly the long-term unemployed, into the labour market.
The National Development Plan envisaged approximately 38 per cent of the EU Structural Funds being allocated to the development of human resources. This percentage allocation has been endorsed in the draft Community Support Framework recently agreed by the Commission.
Accordingly, the negotiations on aid to be sourced principally through the European Social Fund has been successful and predictions aired publicly in the course of those negotiations that EU funds for training and employment measures would be radically reduced have not materialised.
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