Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
342. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the budget within his Department and other Departments for youth affairs in 2008; the proposed budget for 2009; the impact this will have on the provision of frontline services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39185/08]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): While my Department does not provide any frontline youth services, it does provide funding for many initiatives which are either directly or indirectly targeted at younger members of society.
Ireland’s annual budgetary contribution to the Council of Europe contains an item for the European Youth Foundation. Out of a total budget contribution of €2,692,472 in 2008, for which this Department was responsible, the Youth Foundation item amounted to €33,073. The Council of Europe budget for 2009 has not yet been finalised, but we would anticipate that there will be a slight increase in Ireland’s 2009 contribution, including its contribution to the Youth Foundation.
Under the Communicating Europe Initiative (CEI) a number of youth oriented projects were funded in 2008, including €30,000 in respect of the European Youth Parliament. In addition, 6 school and youth based projects received CEI funding of €29,000 in 2008 to celebrate Europe Day. While the extent of the youth-affairs element of the Communicating Europe Initiative budget depends on the quantity and scope of the applications received, I would expect that a similar amount will be available in 2009.
My Department, through Irish Aid, also provides funding to the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) in respect of the National Youth Development Education Programme (NYDEP). It aims to integrate development education into the core programmes of youth organisations through support for training, activities and the provision of learning resources. Under the current three year partnership agreement (2007-2009), Irish Aid will provide total funding of €925,930 to the NYCI. The budget for the programme this year is €309,806 and €325,758 is allocated for 2009.
My Department also supports measures by community, voluntary, and other groups aimed at promoting reconciliation and tackling sectarianism on an all-island basis. While not specifically directed at the youth sector, many of the programmes assisted by both the Reconciliation and Anti-Sectarian Funds have a focus on activities organised by, or aimed at, young people. In 2008 total provision in the area was €3m, and this level of support will be continued in 2009.
The budget for the Irish Abroad emigrant support programme for this year is €15.183 million and the 2009 allocation is set to match this. While it has no specific youth affairs budget, some of the programme’s funding is directed to support projects which particularly benefit our younger emigrants. Earlier this year, for instance, I approved a grant of €50,000 to the FAI to enable the employment of a welfare officer to work with Irish football apprentices and ex- apprentices in Britain and help ensure that the welfare and education needs of these young people are met.
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