I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.
The Rural Development Fund is concerned with the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and not the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. While the proposed Regulation establishing the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is progressing towards adoption, it is not expected to be adopted in law by the EU institutions until probably June this year. Distribution of the EMFF funds amongst Member States has not yet been determined by the EU Commission and pending that, Ireland has been allocated no specific funding under the EMFF at this point.
My Department is working to prepare a new 7-year Operational Programme for the seafood sector under the EMFF. Work on that Programme is dependent on the progress of the proposed Regulation and the allocation of funds by the Commission, so given the likely adoption date of June, the Programme is likely to be finalised towards the end of the year. I am working closely with all stakeholders in developing the Programme. To date, a public consultation has been undertaken on a SWOT analysis of the seafood industry and on future investment priorities. As work progresses on development of the Programme, details will be made available on my Department's website.