Tuesday, 28 February 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
28. Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance if a secretariat will be put in place in the Border areas to ensure that INTERREG funding is utilised in those areas in accordance with the views of the various community groups active there in view of the fact that this secretariat could be regarded as a joint body between North and South; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1138/95]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): Approval of the joint Ireland/Northern Ireland programme under the second INTERREG structural funds Community initiative was announced by the EU Commission yesterday. Based on the successful pattern achieved under the first INTERREG programme, it offers a multisectoral range of measures covering infrastructure, environmental protection, economic development, tourism, community development, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and human resources.
Overall responsibility for the management of the programme rests with the Department of Finance and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland. The new programme makes provision for an INTERREG development office. Its functions will include giving practical assistance to groups, organisations or individuals in  preparing proposals for consideration under the programme. The office will ensure that information and issues raised by local groups are fed into the policy and decision-making process.
While the final details of the arrangement remain to be worked out it is expected that this approach will prove to be of considerable benefit in publicising the INTERREG programme and in assisting community development and other local voluntary groups to take maximum advantage of the funding offered. Similar functions are being introduced in the INTERREG programmes to be operated between other member states.
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