Written Answers. - Animal Welfare Bodies.

John Bruton


352 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will allocate a significant amount of funding to the Meath Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 1999 in view of the fact the society's activities have dramatically increased already in 1999; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1505/99]

While no specific schemes of financial assistance for welfare purposes are operated by my Department, financial aid of an ex gratia nature has been paid to a number of animal welfare bodies each year-end since 1995. Last December I made grant-aid of £210,000 available to ten such bodies, including Meath Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which received a sum of £15,000.

As the payment of such aid is invariably contingent on the resources, if any, which may be available at each year-end in the Department's Vote, I am not in a position to guarantee the continuation of such assistance. I will, however, consider a further request from Meath SPCA in the light of the resources that may be available to me towards the end of this year and having regard to any competing claims for grant assistance which may be submitted by other animal-welfare bodies.