Written Answers. - AI Schemes.

Jim Higgins

Question:

64 Mr. Higgins (Mayo) asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will grant an application to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo under the artificial breeding techniques scheme for equines in view of the proven and urgent need for this service and the absence of it in surrounding counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4968/00]

The artificial breeding techniques scheme for the improvement of artificial insemination services in the non-thoroughbred horse sector was one of a number of schemes for the development of the sport horse industry which formed part of the EU co-financed Operational Programme for Agriculture, Rural Development and Forestry 1994-99 (OPARDF) under the last round of Structural Funds. The programme ceased at the end of 1999 and under EU rules my Department is only allowed to make payments in respect of schemes under the OPARDF where legal commitments were made on grants approved before 31 December 1999. Out of 33 applications for grant aid under this scheme, 11 were approved and the person referred to by the Deputy was not among those and, therefore, cannot now qualify for aid under the scheme. Of the 11 approved, nine applicants proceeded with their projects and one of those is based in County Mayo.