Wednesday, 25 November 1998
Dáil Éireann Debate
114. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Finance the criteria whereby County Kerry has been included as part of the submission to the European Commission for Objective One status in the context of the next round of Structural Funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24902/98]
115. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the south east region should be submitted a part of the proposals to regionalise the State in the context of the next round of Structural Funds, particularly in view of the figures available from the European Commission and published by EUROSTAT; and if he will confirm his plans to do so in conjunction with the regions and counties already announced. [24904/98]
The Government, in deciding on the application to EUROSTAT for a NUTS II reclassification, had to take account of the following factors: the opposition expressed by the Commission to any regionalisation based on subsidy shopping and creative geography; this required a relatively modest approach in terms of reclassification; the precedent effect of recent changes in western peripheral regions of the UK; the need to meet general EUROSTAT criteria in regard to size, population and geographical contiguity.
Against this background, the Government decided on an application for the reclassification of Ireland's single NUTS II region status into two NUTS II regions: one comprising the Border, midlands and the west including Counties Kerry and Clare; the other comprising the rest of the country. This application has now been lodged with EUROSTAT. The proposed inclusion of Clare and Kerry in one region means that the total west coast from Donegal to Kerry is now encompassed. This provides a plausible and realistic view of a peripheral area of the Community, in good balance with the overall Community picture.
In regard to poor areas outside the proposed Objective One region, I draw the Deputy's attention to the Government's commitment in its press release on the regionalisation proposal that the proposal will not in any sense deflect the Government from its commitment to tackle social exclusion, urban or rural.
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