In relation to today’s ruling by the European Court of Justice, the National Learning Network wishes to put on record that all its claims for ESF grants were fully compliant with the guidelines and instructions of the National Rehabilitation Board (NRB).
All these claims were audited by the NRB and were subsequently paid. We also want to state clearly that all our claims for funding were accepted by Government as being completely valid and were paid out in full.
By way of background, the funds in question were administered by the now-disbanded National Rehabilitation Board (NRB) on the basis that organisations participating in ESF schemes would first claim 75 per cent of net eligible expenditure as EU funding. The remaining 25 per cent would be met from other sources i.e. both State and private. For more than 20 years ESF funding was allocated to all eligible service-providers on that basis.
Throughout this period the European Court of Auditors and the NRB carried out audits. It is a matter of record that was never any difficulty with the claims submitted by NTDI.
In 2000, after the Human Resources Development Operational Programme 1994-1999 had ended and the NRB was in the process of being dissolved, an EU Auditor pointed out that all organisations were entitled to claim up to 75 per cent of net eligible expenditure and not a minimum of 75 per cent as had been the instructed guideline.
NTDI resubmitted claims from the 1994-1999 Operational Programme on the basis of this new interpretation of the regulations. Following this the Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment accepted the validity of all claims for grants by NTDI under the Operational Programme and reimbursed all monies due.