Written Answers. - Seaside Resort Relief.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

51 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Finance when he will assess the scheme of relief for traditional seaside resorts; and when additional towns should apply for inclusion in the next phase of the scheme. [8571/96]

In last year's budget I announced a new scheme of relief for traditional seaside resorts. This pilot scheme came into effect last July for a three year period. The scheme is in operation in 15 seaside towns around the country.

As this scheme is of a pilot nature, it will be important that we learn from experiences of the 15 designated pilot resort areas. At preent both officials from my Department and the Department of Tourism and Trade are monitoring the progress of the scheme and I understand that the Department of Tourism and Trade has written to the regional tourism organisations and Shannon Development requesting a report on developments under the scheme and its impact on the designated areas. However, given the tax based nature of the scheme and the normal lead in time for capital projects it is difficult to assess the level of activity which is currently under way.
I draw the Deputy's attention to what the Minister for Tourism and Trade said when questioned recently on this subject in the Dáil. Minister Kenny indicated that he would be positively disposed towards giving the Government a progress report on the scheme at the end of this year.
In relation to the Deputy's second point, since the passing of the 1995 Finance Act, there have been numerous requests to extend the scheme to additional towns and, in certain cases, to enlarge areas where the incentives already apply. However, as I said on many occasions in the past until the expereince from this pilot scheme can be thoroughly assessed, I have no plans to broaden in any way the current scheme. Requests for inclusion in the scheme on behalf of other towns will be considered, if and when the scheme is being extended beyond the present three year period.