As the Deputy will appreciate, in the current economic circumstances, the Government is faced with difficult decisions with regard to framing budgets for expenditure. In order to ensure that the best use is made of limited financial resources and to provide a basis for a sustainable approach to the current financial situation, the Government embarked on a detailed Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) in 2011. The objectives of the CRE were to provide the Government with a comprehensive set of decision options:
to meet the overall fiscal consolidation objectives, both as regards spending and numbers reduction targets;
to re-align spending with the Programme for Government priorities; and
in this context, to consider new ways of achieving Government objectives in the context of public sector reform.
Within this context, my Department's allocations reflect the outcome of both the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure and the Review of Capital Expenditure carried out last year. While my Department's 2012 REV Allocation of €268.451m represents a 9% reduction when compared with the 2011 provisional out-turn, to the greatest extent possible, savings are being largely achieved through efficiencies rather than through reductions in services and my Department continues to place emphasis on:
supporting jobs in the film and TV sector and in the Gaeltacht;
targeting investment in priority areas in the culture and heritage sectors that will support cultural tourism as one of the most important elements of Ireland's tourism product;
complying with EU Directives, including investment in alternative solutions for those affected by the cessation of turf cutting in Special Areas of Conservation; and
supporting the built heritage, strategic developments in our National Parks and the development of our waterways in the context of the implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrew's Agreements.
I am satisfied that it will be possible to continue to make good progress and to facilitate promotional efforts appropriately, on foot of the prudent use of available funding.