The Deputy will be aware that my Department was established in June of 2002 and has assumed responsibility for a range of matters which were previously under the remit of six other Departments.
My Departments strategy statement covering the period 2003-05, copies of which were placed in the Oireachtas Library on 19 June last, sets out my Departments objectives, strategies and associated performance indicators across its range of responsibilities for the period until the end of 2005. A copy of the document, which is available on my Departments website, www.pobail.ie has also been forwarded to the Deputy.
The strategy statement highlights my Departments goals regarding its four main areas of operation as follows:
Community and local development goal – to encourage and facilitate communities, with a special focus on areas of disadvantage, to pursue social and economic progress in their areas; tackling drug misuse goal – to facilitate a more integrated and co-ordinated response by State agencies to tackle drug misuse with the aim of significantly reducing the harm caused to individuals and society; rural, Gaeltacht and islands development goal – to promote and maintain living and working populations in rural and Gaeltacht areas and on the islands, by helping to foster sustainable and culturally vibrant communities in those areas; and maintenance and promotion of the Irish language goal – to increase the use of the Irish language countrywide and to support the maintenance of the language in Gaeltacht areas.
The strategy statement 2003-05 goes on to detail the key outputs, strategies and performance indicators in respect of these goals. I look forward to receiving and publishing my Departments annual reports, produced in accordance with the Public Service Management Act 1997, on the progress achieved each year in relation to these goals and strategies.