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Increase in overseas development assistance a welcome step

Trócaire has welcomed the Government’s decision to increase the overseas development assistance budget, saying the decision put Ireland on the right path towards meeting international commitments after several years of decline.

refugee settlement in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley

Irish support for vulnerable people overseas is recognised as a world leader in terms of impact and value. It brings vital aid, relief and support to people affected by conflict, poverty and climate change across Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

The Government today announced that it will provide a total of €640 million for development assistance in 2016, an increase of €40 million on 2015.

“This signals a welcome end to the years of cuts to the overseas aid budget that have had a cruel impact on some of the world’s poorest people,” said Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan. “With the domestic economy appearing to improve after years of recession, the Government should be congratulated for beginning the process of returning Ireland’s overseas assistance to previous levels. Ireland’s overseas aid is recognized as a world leader in terms of impact and value and has an incredible impact on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Trócaire has also called for a road map to outline how Ireland will reach its international commitment of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on overseas assistance, as recently reaffirmed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in a speech to the United Nations. Ireland’s current spend on overseas development assistance stands at just 0.35% of Gross National Income.

“The increase announced will begin to restore Ireland’s reputation and will have a hugely positive impact for people suffering the impacts of climate change, poverty and conflict. However, we remain far off our international commitment of spending a mere 70 cent for every €100 of State revenue on assisting the world’s most vulnerable people. Ireland needs a plan, including year-on-year benchmarks, to reach this international commitment.

“We must remember that we are not talking about mere percentage points but real people’s lives. Ireland recently received huge international plaudits for co-facilitating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process, which has delivered 17 global anti-poverty targets, but unless countries meet international funding obligations these targets will not be met. Ireland showed leadership to chair the SDG process, we now need to show leadership by actually funding the delivery of the targets.”

Read Trócaire’s pre-budget submission.





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