Ireland must spend billions, not millions, on overseas aid say Trócaire

As part of its Pre-Budget Submission, the overseas development agency Trócaire has called on the government to continue to grow Ireland’s aid budget from €868 million to €2.5 billion by 2030.   

Such a striking increase would mean that the proportion of Ireland’s national income that was being set aside for foreign aid would rise from the 2021 rate of 0.32% to 0.70% by 2030.

Trócaire say however that while the €30m increase in Development Aid announced in Budget 2021 was vital in the context of extremely high humanitarian needs globally, the Government must commit to achieving the UN Official Development Assistance target of 0.70% of GNI as set out in A Better World, Ireland’s International Development policy, and re-iterated in the Programme for Government.

Irelands ODA allocation has increased in real terms for the last seven consecutive years and has held constant as a proportion of GNI since 2015.

By the year 2025 the ODA allocation from Ireland is expected to rise by €492 million to reach €1.36 billion.

According to Fine Gael Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and the Diaspora, Colm Brophy, the Department of Foreign Affairs has already committed to reaching the 2030 target and has even charted an indicative pathway toward it.

This pathway would see Ireland’s Overseas Development Aid exceed the €2 billion mark by 2028 (€2.05billion).

It would then rise to two thousand two hundred and fifty million by 2029 before finally hitting the two and a half billion-euro target in 2030.

For many here at home the issues surrounding how and where Irish taxpayers’ money is dispersed overseas is a matter of serious concern.

This was highlighted in 2018 when it emerged that Ireland had allocated several hundred million euros to 50 countries and territories ranked as the world’s worst in terms of Christian persecution. A funding practice that continues to the present day.

More broadly there has repeated criticism in recent years of how wealthier nations or supra-national bodies use foreign aid as a means to leverage political control and impose ideological agendas on poorer nations.

Trócaire’s Pre-Budget call comes after the agency issued its 2021 Annual Report earlier this year.

There it was noted that in 2020/21, investigations into seven new cases of allegations or concerns of fraud or other financial wrongdoing were initiated by Trócaire.

These cases involved Trócaire and its Partner Organisations.

Trócaire also reported 2 substantiated cases of Sexual Harassment within the agency itself and 1 case in an unspecified Partner Organisation.

The agency’s 2021 spend on Salaries and Pension benefits is expected to cost at least €15 million.

 

The ‘pathway’ from 2021 to 2030.

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