Written Answers - Information Technology Programme.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

108 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if the CAIT programme is operated by her Department; if community grants are payable under the programme; and the criteria applicable to this programme. [11066/01]

The community application of information technology or CAIT initiative seeks to fund demonstration projects, which encourage and assist those in our society who are unfamiliar with, and who do not use, the new information and communications technologies in their everyday lives. It is intended that the community and voluntary sector would undertake these projects. More than £2.5 million has been provided for this purpose from the information society fund over the period June 2001 to December 2002. In excess of 450 proposals were received before the deadline, which expired on 15 February last.

An independent steering group comprised of representatives of the Department of Public Enterprise, other Government Departments and the private sector are currently considering all of these proposals. The criteria for consideration of proposals received include the extent to which the project promotes and encourages those in our society who are unfamiliar with the new information and communications technologies to use such technologies in a manner which is relevant, and which assists in overcoming barriers to development which may exist for them. Other criteria include financial, technical and organisational feasibility of the proposal, and overall value for money. The CAIT initiative is just one of many initiatives being undertaken as part of wider Government programme to ensure a fully inclusive information society in Ireland.