Written Answers. - National Conference Centre.

Michael Ferris

Ceist:

37 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the discussions, if any, he has had with the EU Commission regarding the proposed £25 million in funding for the national convention centre project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15029/98]

As I have already informed the House in response to a question from Deputy Allen, I announced on Monday evening, 22 June, that I have been informed by the chairman of the independent Management Board for Product Development (Bord Fáilte Area), of his board's decision to award a grant of approximately £25 million under the Operational Programme for Tourism, 1994-99, to the tender submitted by Spencer Dock International Convention Centre Ltd., for the development of a national conference centre at Spencer Dock, adjacent to Dublin's International Financial Services Centre. The total estimated cost of the conference centre being proposed is in the region of £80 million.

The decision of the management board is subject to Government and EU agreement on foot of a cost/benefit analysis which has been commissioned and is under way.

Progress on this process has been subject to regular review by the European Commission since provision for assistance was made in the Operational Programme for Tourism (1994 — 1999). Indeed further discussions are to take place later this week again involving officials of my Department and the Commission to review progress under the Operational Programme for Tourism, including a national conference centre project.