Dáil Éireann - Volume 413 - 19 November, 1991

Written Answers. - NOW Programme Funding.

37. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Labour the current position [69] regarding the application by the Government for funding under the NOW programme; the number of individual applications submitted to the Government for consideration; the reason applications were not submitted to the EC Commission by the due date; whether any difficulties have arisen in relation to the submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Labour (Mr. O'Kennedy): NOW is a European Community initiative which aims to promote equal opportunities for women in the field of employment and vocational training. Over 100 proposals were submitted to the Department of Labour, as the designated National Authority in Ireland for all matters relating to the ESF, for consideration under NOW.

In general, individual applications are not submitted to the EC Commission. The EC Commission require an operational programme to be drawn up outlining the objectives and priorities of the Irish authorities in relation to the given programme. An operational programme for the NOW initiative was submitted to the EC Commission on 19 July and negotiations between my Department and the EC Commission have been taking place since that date, following the normal pattern for such negotiations. A Commission decision is now expected within the next month.