Written Answers. - National Lottery Funding.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

471 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the plans he has to allow medical research to be an allowable category for national lottery funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19995/00]

Under the National Lottery Act, 1986, one of the designated categories for national lottery funding is "the health of the community". The Act also provides that the Government may designate additional categories for which National Lottery funds may be allocated.

In 1999 my Department implemented one of the key recommendations from the report of the review group on the national lottery which was that "the beneficiary fund, apart from any moneys in the reserve fund, should in future be devoted entirely to the support of community and voluntary activity in the areas of sports, youth services, the arts, the Irish language, welfare, health, social services and community development".

I would draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that under the national development plan (see paras. 6.39 to 6.41) it is proposed to allocate £550 million to research, technological development and innovation, RTDI, in the education sector "to boost human potential in research, science and technology and to strengthen the research and science capability of our higher education institutions". Research in the humanities, the sciences including medical science and technology will benefit from this investment. In addition, medical research projects are already benefiting under the £220 million public/private programme for research in third level institutions.

I would envisage that medical research would continue to be supported in this way rather than through the national lottery beneficiary fund.