Written Answers. - Western Development Commission.

Michael Ring

Question:

364 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if the Western Development Commission can grant funding to projects in the agriculture and fisheries sector; if this is subject to EU approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19306/00]

Michael Ring

Question:

366 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when the Western Development Commission received its funding; the number of projects on hand; the number of projects that have been approved or refused funding; and the areas in which they are located. [19308/00]

(Mr. Walsh): I propose to take Questions Nos. 364 and 366 together.
I am advised by the Western Development Commission that the number of applications for assistance from the Western Investment Fund to date is 54. Of these, four have been approved for assistance totalling £450,000. These projects are located in Counties Leitrim, Sligo, and Galway. The number of projects refused funding to date is nine.
Support for projects in the agriculture and fisheries sectors requires EU approval as a State aid. In consultation with the Western Development Commission, my Department has been in correspondence with the European Commission on this matter and I expect a favourable decision shortly.
As the Deputy is aware, provision of £25 million has been made in the national development plan for the western investment fund. In August my Department provided £100,000 to the Western Development Commission at its request in respect of the support it is providing for the first two projects it approved.