I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 39 together.
The reconstruction of the economies in Central and Eastern Europe, a process aided largely by the technical assistance programmes of the European Commmunity, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), creates an enormous range of opportunities for Irish experts in almost every area of economic activity.
Since the end of 1989, therefore, my Department has played a key role in informing and advising a wide range of organisations here in relation to these opportunities, working closely in this process with An Bord Tráchtála. Officials from my Department represent Ireland on the EC PHARE and TACIS Management Committees, which supervise the Commission's management of the relevant EC Assistance Programmes, and ensure the strongest possible Irish participation in various programmes.
Specifically with a view to assisting these CEE countries with the provision of technical skills and services from Ireland I established, last year, an Eastern Europe Group, under the auspices of my Department, to act as a forum for exchange of information and ideas about development opportunities provided by the various technical assistance programmes in Eastern Europe. It consists of representatives of a wide range of interests including the Confederation of Irish Industry, DEVCO, IDI, TDI, some Irish banks, ABT and the Department of Foreign Affairs and has been structured to ensure the fullest possible dissemination of information among all parties interested in the services and consultancy areas in CEE countries.