8 Apr 2004

Who is it for?
General public, europhiles and eurosceptics.

What makes it worth a visit?
You can find out how Ireland, in general, has benefited from the flood of European money over the past decade and which regions have benefited most.

What information will I find there?
The CSF in www.csfinfo.com stands for Community Support Fund, the EU-funded element of the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP involves an investment of public and private funds of over €57bn for the period 2000-2006. The bulk of the investment under the NDP comes from the Irish exchequer. The EU Structural Funds will contribute just over €3.8bn or approximately 7pc. The website summarises the main programmes through which funds are channelled, notably the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund and gives details of which regions and sub-regions benefit from structural funds. It also gives an update on the cohesion fund, another EU programme from which Ireland has benefited handsomely in recent years but less so in the future because of our improved per capita GDP (gross domestic product). The site also carries case studies of projects that have benefited from structural and cohesive funding and a list of supporting publications that are available to interested parties. A basic but effective search function is helpful in sifting through the data.

Best feature?
A useful Links section that provides the web addresses of a large number of government and community agencies and organisations.

What does it look like?
Clean and uncluttered but not overly imaginative.

The verdict?
A good starting point for those wishing to understand where EU funds have gone and continue to go.

By Brian Skelly