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Overseas aid and climate commitments welcome

15 June 2020

The Programme for Government broadly reflects Ireland’s desire to play a positive role in helping to rebuild the world from the COVID-19 shock, Trócaire has said.

The charity welcomed the pledge to continue to grow Ireland’s overseas aid budget in line with international commitments and to protect the Irish Aid budget from cuts. Combined with strong climate action measures and targets, these commitments will help to protect the world’s poorest people.

Trócaire also welcomed the reiterated commitment to international law and opposition to settlement construction and annexation in the West Bank. It repeated its calls for Ireland to show leadership on the issue by enacting the Occupied Territories Bill.

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said:

“The COVID-19 shock has caused enormous damage to people and the economy here in Ireland. The incoming Government has to protect the most vulnerable people in our own society, while also clearly delivering on Ireland’s commitment to playing a leading and positive role on the global stage.

“This Programme for Government signals that Ireland is committed to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. Our spending on overseas aid is still below our international commitments, but it is positive to see a pledge to reach 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid. These are challenging times but Ireland is showing global leadership by continuing its commitment to the poorest people on earth. The new Government has to keep its promise and not cut the Irish Aid budget. Irish Aid is recognised as a world leader in terms of its impact in the poorest places on Earth.

“Ireland has been a laggard on climate action so it is very welcome to see strong commitments to finally playing our part in tackling this global crisis. Climate change is threatening so many of the gains that have been made in the battle against extreme poverty. It is welcome to finally see coherence between Ireland’s commitment to the world’s poor and our willingness to tackle the issue that is driving extreme poverty. 

PARTIES MUST CONTINUE TO PUSH OCCUPIED TERRITORIES BILL 

“Broadly speaking this is a positive programme for Ireland on the global stage. In addition to the commitments on overseas aid and climate change, the Programme for Government also reiterates Ireland’s support for international law and opposition to settlement construction in the West Bank. Ireland has a strong reputation on this front, but what we need to see is a willingness to move beyond words and towards action. The Occupied Territories Bill has the clear support of the majority of parties in Dáil Éireann. It is morally right and legally sound. We urge parties to continue to push for its enactment.”

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