Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Questions (337)

Finian McGrath

Question:

423 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the finances discovered in dormant accounts; the procedures for its distribution to community and voluntary groups; the application details; the closing date; when it was advertised in the press; and the best way to access funds, particularly for the disadvantaged. [6754/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

The total amount involved in the first transfer of moneys in 2003 from credit institutions to the dormant accounts fund, managed by the National Management Treasury Agency, was approximately €196 million. Since then some €26 million has been reclaimed and €3 million earned from investing the fund, leaving a current total of approximately €173 million in the fund. This figure includes a reserve, which must be maintained to meet claims for repayment and various costs associated with administering the scheme. A second transfer of funds from credit institutions together with the first transfer of moneys from life assurance policies will take place at the end of April 2004. At this stage, however, I do not have an accurate estimate as to the likely yield from these sources in 2004 and this information will only become clearer at the end of April.

The Dormant Accounts Fund Disbursements Board published its first disbursement plan on 7 November 2003. The plan sets out the board's priorities and provides for the distribution of funds to assist programmes or projects targeting three broad categories of persons: those affected by economic and social disadvantage; those affected by educational disadvantage, and persons with a disability. A significant level of disbursements from the fund will be ring-fenced for programmes and projects within RAPID, CLÁR and drugs task force areas.

The board has engaged Area Development Management Ltd., ADM, to administer the initial round of funding on its behalf, which will involve the disbursement of up to €30 million from the fund. In this regard, an invitation to organisations, groups etc. to make applications for funding was advertised in the national press on Friday, 21 November. I understand in excess of 330 applications have been received to date, which ADM are assessing on an on-going basis. The closing date for receipt of applications for this round of funding is 5 March as advertised in the national press on 20 February last.

To date the board has approved 18 projects for funding totalling approx. €1.7million. The board will next meet on 16 March 2004 and it is anticipated that further projects will be submitted to the board for decision at that meeting. The Deputy will be aware the Government at its meeting of 16 December, decided on new arrangements for dormant accounts. Draft legislation is to be brought forward in 2004 with a view to giving effect to these decisions.