Wednesday, 1 February 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
129. Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Tourism and Trade the way in which proposals for funding tourism projects will be processed following the implementation of the review of tourism policy recommended by the last Government. [2498/95]
Minister for Tourism and Trade (Mr. E. Kenny): In their review of Bord Fáilte, Arthur D. Little anticipated that, beyond 1999, project developers may have to rely far more on commercial sources of funds, provided primarily on estimates of commercial value. The consultants added that making the current grant allocation process more commercial in its execution would help project developers adapt to these future requirements and become more profit-ability-driven and self-reliant. I fully agree with their views.
The proposed new process for the management of European Regional Development Fund funds for private sector product development projects is, therefore, an evolution of the former system designed to reflect these new realities.
Overall appraisal and assessment of financial viability will in future be functions of a third party commercial body with a demonstrable track-record in  project assessment and investment skills. An important input into its overall assessment function will, of course, be BFE's and Shannon Development's role in advising on whether or not proposals fit the tourism strategy for Ireland and are supported by suitable marketing. Ultimately, however, decisions on whether projects will be supported or not will be taken only by the new management boards which have been appointed for this purpose and which the third-party commercial body will service in its overall project appraisal role.
Given the rationale behind the new process, any third-party commercial body involved will require the key investment-related profile and experience I have described and will most likely, therefore, be found in the banking and investment trust community. Suitable arrangements to select the most appropriate body for the purpose will be undertaken under the direction of the Steering Committee which has been established to see through the Bord Fáilte changes. In the interim, to facilitate investment activity, the Management Boards will be serviced fully by BFE and Shannon Development.
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