Written Answers. - Government Programme.

Tuesday, 23 June 1998

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 492 No. 7

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  324.  Mr. Quinn  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation  Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid   the specific commitments, if any, set out in An Action Programme for the Millennium, which have been implemented in full; the commitments, if any, implemented in part; the commitments, if any, initiated; the commitments, if any, yet to be initiated and implemented by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15053/98]

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): Information on James McDaid  Zoom on James McDaid  The commitments set out specifically relating to my Department in An Action Programme for the Millennium and progress towards achieving them is set out in the following table.

Action Programme Objectives Current Position
Establish the National Conference Centre (p13) The Management Board for Product Development (Bord Fáilte Area) has recommended a project for developing the centre subject to Government and EU approval. However, the next step will be a full Cost Benefit Analysis.
Reassess Bord Fáilte marketing campaign (p14) Ongoing. As part of the reassessment Bord Fáilte was given an additional £5 million in late 1997 to enable it to:—
* Activity is to be integrated at a national, regional and local level
* Pay particular attention to secure a better regional distribution of tourism revenue. Bord Fáilte has devised a multi-layered approach which consists of enhancing existing programmes, introducing new regional initiatives and exploiting opportunities coming on stream
* Increase and intensify its level of promotional activity
Establish a Tourism Development Fund (p14) * The issue is being dealt with in the context of the Department's planning for post-1999 which will be predicated on the industry taking more responsibility for its marketing training and product development requirements. The Minister has circulated a document the post-1999 issue to concerned parties.
Provide additional resources for the OTMI scheme (p 14) Bord Fáilte was given an extra £5 million in late 1997 to enable it to increase and intensify its level of promotional activity for the 1998 tourist season (see above).
* The £3.5 million allocated in the 1998 Budget for Special Tourism Marketing Initiatives will be used by Bord Fáilte to fund a series of specific initiatives, directed at overseas marketing and regional campaigns with the emphasis on ensuring that the benefits of tourism are equitably distributed throughout all regions of the country.
Use tax system to encourage tourism investment (p14) Finance Act, 1998 provided for:
* continuation of Pilot Tax Relief Scheme for Certain Resort Areas, in modified form;
* special capital allowances concession for certain hotels in seven specified counties;
* pilot rural renewal scheme in Upper Shannon region which may benefit, inter alia, certain tourism projects [Primary responsibility Department of Finance].
Upgrade Regional Tourism Organisations (p14) * Being reviewed by Department; review to be completed before year end.
* Bord Fáilte allocated an extra £750,000 to the regional tour ism authorities in late 1997, to assist them with their marketing and promotional targets.
Greater co-operation with NI in promoting all areas of Ireland (p14) To be pursued in the context of follow-up to the Good Friday Agreement.
[1739]More joint venture sport and recreational facilities (p19) [1740]* Work has commenced within the Department on the review of the Sports Capital Programme which is the primary vehicle for the allocation of National Lottery funding to sports and recreational facilities.
* The terms of reference for the review include, inter alia, consideration of the scope for joint ventures and more private sector investment in facility provision.
* The review is expected to be completed before the end of 1998.
Invite proposals for a 50m swimming pool (p19) * Tender Procedure now under way and a project brief issued to nine candidates on 26 March 1998, inviting them to prepare full tender submissions.
Provide community facilitators for disadvantaged areas (p19) * Work on developing proposals for the appointment of community facilitators in disadvantaged areas is still at an early stage.
* It is envisaged that the primary role of these facilitators will be to promote participation in recreational and sporting activities in disadvantaged areas to ensure that the best possible use is being made of existing facilities.
Create new National Sports Council (p19) Work at advanced stage with a view to publication in the autumn.
Increase State funding for special Olympics in Ireland (p19) * Special Olympics Ireland received grant-aid of £129,774 in 1997, an increase of £63,294 over the 1996 grant allocation.
Develop Ireland as base for cruise liners (p23) A product marketing group to develop cruise liner business is in operation with Bord Fáilte support.

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