Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (149)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

149. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount of money the State has contributed to the holding of Africa day in 2012 and 2013; the amount committed for 2014; the amount of money that went directly to consultants and the amount provided that went towards consultancy fees including plans for 2014; the reason this money was not given directly to the communities and groups participating in Africa day; if the spend of this money is audited; and if he will provide a breakdown of this spend. [4904/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Africa Day on 25 May is the official day of the African Union. Through Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has taken a leading role in encouraging and supporting initiatives to mark Africa Day in Ireland. The objectives are to increase awareness of the Government's aid programme, which is strongly focused on sub-Saharan Africa; to build greater public understanding of Africa and African issues, by highlighting the diversity and potential of the continent and its people; and to enhance awareness of the potential for bilateral trade and investment links between Ireland and African countries.

The Department encourages, and provides funding for, the organisation of community events throughout the country in cooperation with local authorities in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. Community and civil society groups also receive support to participate in the National Flagship Event. In 2013, this event was held in the Farmleigh Estate in Dublin. Some 46 community groups and NGOs took-part, and 34,000 people attended the event, making it the most successful Africa Day in Ireland to date.

While the Department, through Irish Aid, has always taken the lead on Africa Day, in cooperation with community groups, local authorities and African community and diplomatic representatives, it is clear that the coordination, promotion and implementation of a programme of events on this scale requires some professional expertise. To this end, a contractor with experience in large-scale event management and publicity has been engaged each year by the Department, on the basis of an open tendering process.

The table below provides a breakdown of the costs to the Department of Africa Day, in 2012 and 2013. This expenditure is subject to audit and review, both internally and externally.

-

2012

2013

Contractor’s Professional fees

€22,101

€27,060

Regional Events (including payments to community groups disbursed by local authorities)

€28,825

€46,450

National Flagship Event and third party costs (including grants to community groups)

€68,750

€91,583

TOTAL

€119,676

€165,093

For Africa Day events in 2014 some €180,000 has been allocated provisionally at this stage, with approximately half of the funding to be directed to regional community events organised in cooperation with local authorities. There has been no expenditure on the 2014 Africa Day programme so far.