The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland has completed public consultation on a draft scheme for the operation of a fund to be established under the Broadcasting (Funding) Act 2003. In accordance with section 2(1) of the Act, the BCI is required to submit the finalised scheme to me for approval following which I will lay the scheme before the Oireachtas. I expect to receive a final version of the proposed scheme in the coming weeks.
Any such scheme is likely to require state aid approval from the European Commission. When approval from the European Commission has been received and the scheme is in place, it will be a matter for the BCI to allocate funding as it considers appropriate in accordance with the legislation. Accordingly, the first awards are likely to be made in 2005.