HC Deb 21 April 2004 vol 420 cc561-2W
Mr. Peter Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2004, Official Report, column 868W on Peace II Programme, under what measure number the money was awarded to the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE); who authorised the approval to distribute the money to CAFRE; under whose name money was awarded to CAFRE; and what items of expenditure in addition to normal running costs of CAFRE the money funded. [166831]

Mr. Pearson

The money in respect of this project was awarded under Priority 1, Measure 6 (Training for Farmers) of the PEACE II Programme.

Training through technology development and transfer is an on-going programme delivered through the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) which has been operational since January 2000. During 2003 when the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) was assessing how the PEACE II N + 2 targets could be met, this programme was considered under the "Innovative Actions" strand of activities seeking to ensure expenditure targets could be achieved. Such innovative actions were approved by the PEACE II Monitoring Committee.

The technology development and transfer programme was considered consistent with the terms of the PEACE II Programme and an application was submitted by CAFRE to Measure 1.6 for the project titled, Developing Agriculture through Technology Adoption (DATA). The application was considered in the normal manner by a three person Selection Panel against the Peace and Reconciliation and Measure Specific criteria and judged successful. The Selection Panel included a person independent of DARD. The success of this application enabled DARD to meet its N + 2 targets and ensured no loss of PEACE II funding.

The Letter of Offer in respect of the DATA project was issued by Pauline McCloy, Director of Rural Development, on behalf of DARD, and accepted on behalf of the College by Paul McGurnaghan, CAFRE Deputy Director and John Fay, CAFRE Director.

As the DATA project is a training programme the money allocated covers staff costs and other expenditure solely related to the delivery of the project such as set-up costs associated with demonstrations and publicity booklets for the programme. None of the money allocated is used to fund any of the running costs associated with other CAFRE activities.