Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Questions (93)

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

222 Mr. O'Connor asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the plans her Department has to promote Ireland's EU Presidency among the Irish public; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2782/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

My Department has published two separate programmes setting out the priorities and main activities in the key policy areas dealt with by the two Council of Ministers formations for which the Department takes lead responsibility, namely, the competitiveness council and the employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs council. Both programmes have been widely disseminated, are available from my Department and may be viewed on the official website of the Irish Presidency atwww.eu2004.ie and on the Department's website at www.entemp.ie. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Houses of the Oireachtas. The programmes are available in both Irish and English.

In addition, I and my ministerial colleagues in the Department have issued a number of statements and press releases about our priorities for the Presidency. I have also given a number of media interviews on matters relating to the Presidency programme which have been carried by both the print and broadcast media. Presidency related events such as conferences, seminars and meetings are being held under the auspices of my Department at several venues around the country and are also being reported upon by local and national media.

More generally, Ireland's Presidency of the EU is being promoted to the public by the Government in many ways across all Departments. My own Department is contributing to this effort in a number of ways. For example, the Department contributed to the preparation of the overall programme for the Presidency, which was agreed by the Government and published by the Department of Foreign Affairs. As well as being disseminated in booklet form, the programme is available on the website of the Irish Presidency at the address given above. An outline of the key areas of Presidency activity for which my Department is responsible has also been included in public statements and presentations by both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, including to the Oireachtas.

The Irish Presidency website also contains user-friendly information about all aspects of the Presidency, including the policy areas for which my Department is responsible. Further information will be posted on the site and publicised in more traditional ways on an ongoing basis as developments occur on various issues during the Presidency. The activities and areas of interest to my Department are also reflected in various media programmes, information and public awareness campaigns and other initiatives promoted by the Department of Foreign Affairs. An information leaflet summarising Ireland's Presidency goals and objectives will also be launched in the coming weeks and will be distributed to schools, non-governmental organisations and the wider public. Publicly accessible information on all new EU legislative proposals will be submitted to the Oireachtas in the normal way during the Presidency under the statutory Oireachtas scrutiny arrangements introduced by the Government in 2002.