I propose to take Questions Nos. 380 and 381 together.
The Dormant Accounts Act 2001, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003 and the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Acts 2005-2012, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.
The Acts provide for the disbursement of funds for the purposes of programmes or projects to assist:
- the personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged;
- the educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged, or
- persons with a disability.
The Act provides for Disbursement Schemes and Action Plans to be prepared by the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs in consultation with relevant Government Ministers and other parties.
A Disbursement Scheme is prepared every three years and sets out the objectives to be achieved by making disbursements from the Fund, and the strategies for achieving those objectives. The current Disbursement Scheme ran to the end of 2016. My Department is currently carrying out a consultation process seeking proposals for inclusion in a new Scheme to cover the period 2017-2019.
An Action Plan for 2017 under the new Disbursement Scheme will be drawn up by my officials following consultation with relevant Government Departments. The Action Plan will contain details of specific schemes or programmes to be operated by Departments. It will be a matter for the relevant Departments to set criteria and invite applications for their own schemes.
I will shortly be launching a call for proposals for a new Social Enterprise measure to support social enterprises that provide services to, or employment opportunities for, disadvantaged people, particularly in rural areas. Pobal will administer this measure on behalf of my Department and details of the measure will be available at www.pobal.ie in the coming weeks.