Written Answers. - Schools of Music.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

193 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science the progress which has been made in the plan to build a new college of music in Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19147/03]

As I have explained to the Deputy previously, under EU rules, where projects are financed on a deferred payment basis by the private sector, such as the Cork School of Music public private partnership project, the capital value of such projects is a charge on the general Government balance, GGB, over the construction phase. The GGB is the critical measure of what can be accommodated within our obligations under the stability and growth pact of the Maastricht Treaty. A EUROSTAT group is currently reviewing the accounting rules on this issue as is a standing committee established by my colleague the Minister for Finance to advise on the GGB implications of private sector financed projects.

The position remains that consideration of the Cork School of Music project will be based on a thorough assessment of affordability of the project in the context of the competing demands on the likely capital funding envelopes going forward and taking into account the issues surrounding the general Government balance.