There are 44 applications for funding worth €3,046,252 in the Deputy's county of Carlow. My officials and I are drawing up the guidelines on how we will deal with the applications. We want to see whether there are big or small applications, and when they have been assessed, we will draw up the guidelines on how the funding is to be spent.
I would like to provide some figures to dampen down expectations, because the Deputy is correct to say that expectations are high. There were 1,453 applications worth €293 million in 2008, but only 685 groups got funding, even though the Government of the day had €50 million to spend. I have 2,152 applications to date and I have €30 million available. It is small money when put into the overall context. We will try to distribute this money as fairly as possible, and we will draw up the regulations very shortly. We want to see whether the applications are big or small and then we will make a decision.
I do not want to see a situation arise like that which occurred in 2008, when the Government had €50 million to spend. There were schemes in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the last scheme was in 2008. We did very well in very difficult times, and I thank the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for allowing us to spend €30 million. There is a massive demand for funding, but I want to see that funding targeted in areas where it will be spent. I do not want to see the situation that occurred before when €55 million worth of grants were allocated and were not drawn down. I will not be giving small amounts of money to big schemes so that the money will not be drawn down.