I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 and 290 together.
I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced in April 2012 to encourage inward investment so as to create business and employment opportunities in the State.
The programme provides investors with the opportunity to invest in Ireland. Key to the programme is that the investments are beneficial for Ireland, generate or sustain employment and are generally in the public interest. There are currently four options for investing, one of which is the endowment of €500,000 (or €400,000 where a group of 5 or more combine to make a large endowment) towards a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field.
Any endowment proposed should be regarded as a philanthropic contribution with a clear public benefit and investors will receive no financial return or recoupment of the principal. The evaluation of an endowment project examines how the project proposes to utilise the funds made available and where the funds are to be spent on salaries and overheads it is deemed not to have met the IIP criteria. Any successful endowment project must provide a benefit to the public that is enduring and not one that is no longer sustainable once the endowment funding ceases.
The independent evaluation committee is not available to meet individual project proposers or applicants. However, officials of my Department who administer the programme and provide secretariat to the committee have met with project proposers to explain applicable criteria. This can be arranged in this case if requested.