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Cross-Border Co-operation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (308)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

308. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Social Protection the details of her Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53870/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The EURES Cross Border Partnership Ireland – Northern Ireland is concerned with the coordination of employment services across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland (Louth, Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim). It supports frontier and cross border workers, jobseekers and employers in the Ireland/Northern Ireland Border region. Up until 31 December 2021, the Partnership was 80% funded through the European and Social Innovation Programme (EaSI). Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, it was agreed the Partnership would continue to be funded by this Department and the Department for Communities (DfC) on a three year rotating basis.

Year

Allocated Funding

Comments

2021

Nil

Internal costs for support staff

2022

€175,000

Internal Costs for support staff and a dedicated Coordinator. Allocated funding covers activities, events and subsidies to associated bodies.

2023

€175,000

Internal Costs for Support staff and a dedicated coordinator. Allocated funding covers activities, events and subsidies to associated bodies.

The annual Social Welfare Summer School has been running for over 23 years and is hosted each year by this Department and DfC on a biannual basis. The costs are shared 50-50 between the two Departments and the venue rotates between Dublin and Belfast. The last in-person Summer School was held in Dublin in August 2019 and the next Summer School is scheduled to take place in Belfast in August 2022. A virtual summer school was held in September 2021. The school is organised and managed by a Steering Group comprising of officials from this Department and DfC along with the Academic Director of the School.

Year

Cost

Comment

2021

€7,532

Based on conversion of £6,407

2022

€40,500 est

Based on 2019 costs

2023

€40,500 est

Based on 2019 cost

The All Ireland Free Travel (AIFT) scheme entitles customers of this Department aged 66 years and over who hold a Senior Smart pass to travel within Northern Ireland. Persons resident in Northern Ireland for 3 months and aged 65 or over, may similarly obtain a Senior Smart pass. The cost of cross border travel and the AIFT scheme for 2020 was €3,318,056. Cross border travel and usage of the AIFT scheme has been impacted by public health restrictions due to the pandemic. It is not possible to provide details at this time of the funding to be allocated for 2021, 2022 and 2023 as this is a demand led service. However, I am committed to continuing to support this important initiative.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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