Written Answers. - EU Presidency.

Ivor Callely

Question:

637 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if he will give details of the programme of meetings and dinner functions he intends to host in Ireland for the EU Council of Ministers in the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU; the venues for such functions; the numbers attending; the basis on which the venue was chosen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.[16688/96]

It is normal practice for the member state holding the Presidency of the European Union to hold an informal meeting of the Agriculture Council on its territory. During the current Irish Presidency, this meeting and associated programme took place in Killarney from 22-25 September 1996. The programme included a presentation on the Irish food industry and an information visit to a farm. Hospitality was provided mainly in Killarney but also in other locations in County Kerry during the visit. A formal meeting of the Special Committee on Agriculture and associated programme also took place over the same period. The total number involved including accompanying guests was 188.

County Kerry was chosen as the venue for the programme because it allowed the difficulties of farming in less-favoured agricultural areas to be demonstrated to our visitors and because of the availability of a local airport and of adequately sized hotel accommodation and the beauty of the landscape.