Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (850)

Seán Haughey

Question:

968 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will ensure that An Taisce receives adequate and independent financial support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1637/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

An Taisce is an independent voluntary body whose financing, through membership subscriptions and otherwise, is properly a matter for itself. In 2001 my Department agreed to pay An Taisce an annual grant of €69,836 for the three year period 2001 — 2003 to assist it in its role as a prescribed body under planning legislation. There was no commitment to a continuation of this funding and there is no provision in my Department's Vote to provide similar funding in 2004.

My Department provides grant aid to An Taisce as a contribution towards the administration expenses of the blue flag scheme in Ireland, €75,156 in 2003, and co-finances the An Taisce-led anti-litter initiative national spring clean, €250,500 in 2003.

In addition, An Taisce operating at local level would have received some grants from the environmental partnership fund, €6,875 in 2003, and indirectly through core funding, €1,000 in 2003, to support the environmental NGO movement; both these financial mechanisms are supported by my Department.