Written Answers. - Communicating Europe Task Force.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

30 Mr. Sheehan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of meetings held in 1998 by the Communicating Europe Task Force; and the actions, if any, taken to date by the task force. [22054/98]

The Communicating Europe Task Force met four times in 1998 to date: on 13 March, 8 May, 2 July and 8 October. Its next meeting is scheduled for 23 November.

In 1998 the task force held a fundamental review of its activities and made plans for a multi — annual project programme. The task force has taken the view that, in so far as possible, its activities should be focused on reaching the widest possible audience either through its own direct publications or indirectly through the provision of source materials by specialists in European affairs for consumption by a wide audience.

The activities conducted this year include: continued support for Europe Week, a weekly compilation of reports, suitable for radio broadcast, on events in the European Union which is supplied to all local radio stations; continued support for EuroLink, a weekly compilation of reports, suitable for print media, on events in the European Union which is supplied to local newspapers in the northern half of the country; a decision to support a Euro-Link type project in the southern part of the country in future years; the publication of a poster calendar aimed at school children in 1999, the theme of which will be European Institutions; the publication of fact sheets on Ireland in the European Union, aimed at an adult audience; an ongoing project to publish by mid-1999 a CD ROM on the European Union from an Irish perspective for use in schools and by the wider public; advice on the promotion of the European Union by community groups, and a decision in principle to publish a new edition of the handbook on European funding available in Ireland.

In addition the task force agreed in 1998: to support the European Awareness Week conference organised by the Irish Countrywomen's Association, in view of its wide and influential rural membership; support the European Movement, Ireland's seminar on Agenda 2000, and a decision to support the publications programme of the Institute of European Affairs.

The task force also has considered a number of other applications for funding which, in its view. would best be supported by pragmatic advice and-or restructuring. The future work of the task force will be aimed at an inclusive stimulation of debate about Ireland's role in the European Union, the benefits of membership and the future challenges.