Photo credit: World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Budget allocates 5 times more to foreign aid than homeless services

As part of Budget 2023, the government has pledged significantly more money for overseas aid than for homeless services in Ireland.

According to Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath, next year the government will provide €215 million for homelessness services within Ireland – a €21 million increase from last year.

The Minister said that this will “provide assistance to those who are most vulnerable in our society.”

However, the government has also pledged a substantial increase in foreign aid in 2023, bringing Ireland’s total contribution to €1.2 billion – an increase of €177 million from the year previous.

“The overall increase includes an additional €100 million for Irish Aid, representing a 17 per cent year on year increase,” Minister McGrath said.

This represents around five times more money for foreign aid than for domestic homelessness services.

Notably, there are likely other financial resources which are used to help the homeless in a less direct way, aside from the €215 million for direct homeless services.

In addition, under the heading of “Climate Action,” the government has committed to providing an additional €850 million in capital investment to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications. €337 million of this funding will go towards grants for energy efficiency.

The end result of this is that the government has pledged around four times more money for “climate action” than for homeless services.

Moreover, the Minister previously stated that the government was preparing to spend around €3 billion – around fourteen times more than the spend on homeless services – in contingency funding on housing Ukrainian refugees in Ireland in 2023, all as part of the Stability Programme Update.

Many asylum seekers have already found themselves sleeping rough in the streets due to a lack of accommodation, potentially pointing to a flaw in the way both asylum claims and homelessness are being dealt with in Ireland.

Homelessness continues to be a significant problem in Ireland, with the number of people without a home topping ten thousand earlier this year.

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