Written Answers. - EC Structural Funding Application.

Louis J. Belton


50 Mr. Belton asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications if the Government have made an application in respect of the post 1992 EC structural funding for major improvements to the main line rail services throughout the State.

Applications for EC assistance under the next tranche of Structural Funds, the submission of which to the European Commission will be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance, are in the course of preparation.

In so far as the mainline railway network is concerned, a detailed assessment of the strategic options for the future of the railway is being carried out at present by CIE in conjunction with my Department and the Department of Finance. Consultants have been engaged by my Department to assist in this work and they are expected to complete their report shortly. The results of this work will form an important element in the formulation of an investment programme for the development of the railway. I intend to vigorously pursue, in the months ahead, the possibilities of EC assistance from the Structural Funds and the proposed Cohesion Fund for such an investment programme.

Patrick D. Harte


53 Mr. Harte asked the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Communications her views on whether Expo Seville 1992 was a success from an Irish point of view; and, if so, the extent to which it was a success.

A million and a half people visited the Irish Pavilion at Expo 1992, three times the original target. The level of interest in the Irish Exhibit and the fact that the Pavilion's logo won first prize at Expo 1992, resulted in considerable media coverage in Spain during the event.

Expo itself, and the resultant media coverage, afforded Ireland a valuable opportunity to show all that is best about our country, including our culture, our heritage, our products and the attractiveness of Ireland as a beautiful and interesting place to visit and as an ideal location for foreign investment.

Bord Fáilte and An Bord Tráchtála are following up on a number of inquiries made at the stand and Bord Fáilte already have plans in train to build on this success, using their newly opened marketing office in Madrid.