As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility in relation to the European Union's overall Multi-Annual Financial Framework for the period 2014 to 2020 is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Finance in the first instance. On the 7/8th February, political agreement was reached on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework for 2014 to 2020. This is the first step in terms of overall agreement which will now require the consent of the European Parliament. The political agreement on the budget includes overall expenditure ceilings for various overarching subheads. The agreed Framework does not give a detailed breakdown of financial allocations for smaller programmes and sector specific allocations for areas such as tourism will depend on the more detailed negotiations under the various legislative acts covered by the MFF package.
In terms of our position in these discussions, obviously it is our view that tourism as a highly important sector at national and EU level should be appropriately recognised in the specific sectoral programmes. Our priority will continue to be that any future tourism measures at EU level should be clearly additional to national efforts and should have a clear impact on the tourism industry here. It is likely that tourism can benefit from a range of different EU programmes, with rural development (which is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine) likely to be of particular benefit to tourism in Ireland. Other possible areas which may support tourism include regional and employment measures and also a proposed programme for the competitiveness of Enterprises and SME’s (the so called COSME proposal), which may include some tourism-specific measures and for which my colleague the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is primarily responsible. Our position is that we will look at all tourism measures under the MFF in the round and ensure that all appropriate opportunities to benefit the Irish tourism industry are availed of.