I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 43 together.
The enterprise stabilisation fund, ESF, was established by Government in 2009 as a two-year scheme to support viable but vulnerable exporting companies experiencing difficulties because of the current economic climate. Some €78 million is currently being provided under the ESF for 2009 and 2010. At 30 April 2010, a total of 227 applications had been reviewed and 197 projects from 193 companies had been approved for €72 million under the ESF, of which €64 million has been paid out to date.
As with any budget process, the 2010 budget exercise necessitated taking account of emerging priorities as regards enterprise support. In this context, priority is being given to a wide range of financial supports for SMEs, including research and development grants, supporting companies which are resuming a growth path and providing assistance in developing lean manufacturing processes. Prioritisation is always necessary and in this instance it was clearly appropriate.
The Irish economy is now entering a recovery phase and we must take this into account in the allocation of funding across the range of Enterprise Ireland programmes. The companies Enterprise Ireland is now assisting include those that are still vulnerable, but just as importantly those that have shown their potential for high growth and increased export sales. This balance between supporting those companies which are still vulnerable and those which are ready to grow is the key to stabilising the position of some companies while facilitating others to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the recovery in global markets.
The overall funding allocated to Enterprise Ireland for company supports in 2010 amounts to €278 million, which represents a 26% increase on the outturn for 2009. This increase is a reflection of the Government's commitment to supporting enterprise in whatever form is necessary as our priorities shift over the coming year. Allocations to particular schemes are kept under constant review and adjusted to meet our economic needs at any given point in time.