The question relates to the current status of The Gathering project. I presented proposals for The Gathering Ireland 2013 at the Global Irish Economic Forum last October. Fáilte Ireland is the lead agency for the implementation of the initiative and has put in place a project executive team to implement it. Tourism Ireland has specific responsibility for promoting The Gathering in overseas markets and has also provided staff for the project team.
The event is intended to be the biggest tourism initiative ever staged in Ireland and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and other gatherings. The St. Patrick's Day festivities were used for the overseas launch while a major domestic launch took place on Friday, 11 May 2012 in Dublin Castle at an event attended the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister of State with responsibility for tourism, Deputy Ring, and me. In recent weeks the Minister of State, Deputy Ring, has attended events in Manchester and Glasgow to mobilise support among the Irish communities in Britain and I will be attending an event in Brussels next week. Further major publicity events in our main overseas tourism markets are planned for the remainder of the year.
A series of Gathering community meetings are being held throughout Ireland to engage and mobilise local communities and to provide an opportunity to people to learn more about The Gathering and how they can be a part of it. Meetings have taken place in Roscommon and Castlebar, with a meeting in Ennis planned. A website has been established with information on how people can play their part in the event, including online support for potential organisers to submit queries and download promotional material. In addition, social media channels are on stream to promote the event.
In terms of resources, a specific ring-fenced additional €5 million allocation has been provided to Fáilte Ireland this year. This allocation will primarily be used for establishing the support structure and for marketing. Efforts to secure additional resources for The Gathering will be targeted at engaging potential partners and sponsors. The Irish tourism trade is also directly involved and is being briefed on progress on an ongoing basis.