I propose to take Question Nos. 101, 112, 120 and 147 together.
As Deputies are aware, decisions on disbursement of funds from dormant accounts moneys are currently a matter for the Dormant Accounts Fund Disbursements Board. The board is an independent body established under the Dormant Accounts Acts.
The board is currently deciding on the disbursement of funds up to €30 million. In this regard, the board has engaged Area Development Management Limited, ADM, to administer the initial round of funding on its behalf. An invitation to organisations, groups, etc., to make applications for funding was advertised in the national press on Friday 21 November 2003. The closing date for receipt of applications for this round of funding was 5 March 2004.
I understand approximately 1,500 applications were received and these have been evaluated. To date, the board has approved 46 projects totalling approximately €5 million.
Given that the dormant accounts fund spend is reckonable in the general government balance, it has been decided that spend on applications will generally be of the order of €30 million per annum. In addition, as announced by the Minister for Finance in December 2003, a further €10 million from the fund is being allocated in 2004 to the rural social scheme.
Draft legislation to give effect to the proposed changes announced by the Government last December is currently being prepared and will be published in the next few weeks. The proposed changes were discussed by the disbursement board at its December 2003 meeting.
With regard to the level of funding available, the first transfer of moneys from credit institutions to the dormant accounts fund, managed by the National Management Treasury Agency, took place at the end April 2003. The total involved was approximately €196 million. Since then, some €27.5 million has been reclaimed and €3.5 million earned from investing the fund, leaving a current total of approximately €172 million in the fund. This figure includes a reserve which must be maintained to meet claims for repayment and various costs associated with administering the scheme.
A second transfer of funds from credit institutions together with the first transfer of moneys from life assurance policies will take place at the end of this month. I do not yet have an accurate estimate as to the likely yield from these sources.