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.