As the Deputy will be aware, the Government fully supports the enlargement process and participates positively and constructively in the accession negotiations, which are at a very advanced stage with the Czech Republic and other candidate countries. At the same time, Ireland is willing to provide any assistance possible for the candidate countries in their preparations for EU membership. Ireland is perceived by these countries as having managed its membership of the EU very well.
In addition to the assistance provided under EU programmes like PHARE, Ireland has provided assistance for the Czech Republic and other candidates on a bilateral basis, in the form of advice and training for officials in preparation for accession. Czech public servants have participated in several training courses and seminars on EU issues, which have been funded and organised by my Department in conjunction with the Institute of Public Administration. This programme of courses is being developed further in the lead-up to accession and I fully expect that more officials from the Czech Republic will participate.