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Minister Flanagan and Minister Sherlock welcome Government’s commitment to the developing world

Minister Flanagan and Minister Sherlock welcome Government’s commitment to the developing world: no reduction in the aid budget for 2015

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, have welcomed the decision not to reduce the budget for official development assistance (ODA), for the first time in six years.

Emphasising the Government’s strong commitment to fighting global poverty and hunger, through Irish Aid, Minister Flanagan said:

“We have demonstrated our commitment today by protecting the budget for the aid programme and ensuring no further cuts. The Government has allocated just over €600 million for overseas development aid. Our ODA programme is considered among the best in the world and all of this money will be carefully allocated to help deliver those most in need out of poverty. The Budget allocation reflects the remarkable dedication of the Irish people to helping those less fortunate than ourselves, who are facing a daily crisis of abject poverty, hunger and disease.

“Humanitarian aid is a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy. In recent times, the importance of our aid programme has been underlined by our contributions to humanitarian crises in Gaza, Northern Iraq, South Sudan and West Africa to bring relief to desperate people. This level of funding will enable Ireland to continue to play a critical role on some of the most pressing humanitarian crises witnessed for many generations.

“We have provided some €14 million this year alone for the victims of the appalling conflict in Syria and the region. We provide €10 million annually to support the Palestinian people and last Sunday, I pledged €2.5 million for the reconstruction of Gaza at the international conference in Cairo.

“We are one of a small number of European countries with an Embassy in Sierra Leone, a partner country for our aid programme. Through the Irish Aid programme and our funding to NGOs working in West Africa, we are currently providing over €16 million in assistance to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Much of this funding is focused on strengthening health systems, but it is also helping to fight Ebola.”

Minister Sherlock noted that Ireland has been recognised internationally for broadly stabilising the aid budget over the past three years. He stated that:

“The decision today to ensure there will be no reduction in our ODA for 2015 will strengthen Ireland’s voice internationally and ensure that we can play our part in the fight to end hunger and poverty and in addressing the suffering caused by the unprecedented number of humanitarian crises across the world.

“The overall monetary increase in Ireland’s commitment to overseas aid is a strong sign of our support for the international community. I have seen first-hand the impact that our aid has in the partner countries we work with. I am determined that we can continue to assist our partner countries and organisations in their day to day. We are respected internationally for the quality and effectiveness of our development programme, Irish Aid. Our voice counts and after this Budget, will continue to count.”

 

ENDS

Press Office
14 October 2014

 

Notes to the editor:

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • The Government’s policy for international development, One World, One Future, restates the commitment to the UN target of providing 0.7% of GNP for ODA, and to making progress towards it when economic circumstances permit.
  • As GNP growth strengthens, it is expected that Ireland’s percentage for 2014 will now be in the region of 0.4%.
  • Irish Aid is focused on long-term development to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality.
  • 80% of funding to sub-Saharan Africa, where needs are greatest.
  • Four priority issues: HIV and AIDS, gender equality, good governance and the environment. Hunger is a cornerstone of programme.
  • Irish Aid works in over 90 countries. Ireland has a special relationship with 9 Key Partner Countries - Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Vietnam.
  • Irish Aid focuses its work on supporting health, education, water and sanitation, agriculture and rural development. The overall aim is to reduce poverty and hunger.
  • Ireland’s aid programme has regularly received international praise. In July 2014, the prestigious Brookings Institution placed Irish Aid in the top 4 in each of 4 categories it measures, including maximising efficiency, fostering institutions, reducing burden, and transparency and learning.
  • The effectiveness of Ireland’s ODA programme is reflected in successive favourable reviews by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and Ireland’s consistently high ranking in independent indices, such as the Commitment to Development Index and the Reality of Aid Index.