Written Answers. - Rural Renewal Schemes.

Michael Ring

Question:

473 Mr. Ring. asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a tax relief scheme for development in Ballycroy, Westport, County Mayo, in view of the lack of investment in that area. [28388/98]

As I stated in my budget speech of 2 December 1998 I do not propose to consider extending the pilot rural renewal scheme beyond the upper Shannon area until I receive EU Commission approval for the business elements of the scheme.

My Department formally notified the EU Commission of the scheme on 17 September 1998. The latest position is that the Commission has raised a series of queries arising from our initial application. A reply is currently being prepared. I would stress that this is part of the normal process associated with obtaining EU approval and that the procedure may take some time to complete. Any final decision made by the Commission in this context will be announced at the appropriate time.