All Departments have been allocated expenditure ceilings for the period 2012-2014 under Medium-Term Expenditure Framework which was introduced by the Government in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report. The report outlines the Government's plan for a return to sustainable growth in the economy and sets out in some detail the measures that will be taken to put the national finances in order including annual public expenditure and revenue targets for the period.
Against this background and the on-going difficulties in the public finances, it is my intention that the Exchequer resources available to my Department will be managed over the next few years to provide the optimum benefit to economic activity in the agricultural, food, fisheries and forestry sectors and to realising the potential which clearly exists for the sectors to contribute to the national economic recovery. In addition to the normal annual Voted Exchequer resources, my Department is responsible for the payment of approximately €1.3 billion of EU funds, most of which relates to the Single Payment Scheme which represents a major injection of funding into the rural economy. Regardless of the current financial pressures, I am also committed to ensuring the most effective and efficient service delivery by my Department and to realising value for money for the substantial funding which is provided in support the sectors.