General Elections - Political Parties and International Development Cooperation

Wednesday, 16 Feb 2011

As the date for the general elections is fast approaching, political parties have now published their manifestos. Here is a quick summary of their position in relation to Ireland’s international development cooperation [in alphabetical order].


Fianna Fáil

No mention of Foreign Policy/Ireland in the World/Overseas Development…


“Every diplomatic office will arrange at least one significant seminar in the next twelve months to showcase the research strength of Ireland.”

“Encouraging internationalisation of our services enterprises. There is a clear potential for Irish companies to expand their operations which to date has only been realised by a relatively small number of firms. Benefits will accrue to both the firm and the economy as a whole.”

Green IFSC

Fianna Fáil strongly supports the establishment of a Green IFSC to target environmentally-related financial services as a means of generating high value employment and revenue growth in Ireland. By establishing the ‘Green IFSC’, Ireland will position itself as leading financial services centre for the management of carbon and green finance, including the establishment of a government supported International Carbon Standard (ICS) and associated Dublin International Voluntary Offset Registry (DIVO R). This initiative will help to maintain the competitive advantage of the IFSC and has the potential to create in the next five years over 4,000 new jobs and €6 billion in revenue from this emerging sector

Budgetary System Reform

The failure of most elements of the budgetary process has been well established. It did not prove robust enough to ensure that broad issues were examined or assumptions challenged. The range of international reviews which projected continued growth prove that these failings were not unique to Ireland. However, there are important changes which must be made:

• Reform and update the existing budget system beginning in Budget 2011 taking into account the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service in its recent report on Macroeconomic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance.

• There will be an extension of Performance Budgeting to identify more readily the results and impacts that are expected to be delivered with public funds.

• New Value for Money rules to spotlight performance, and to assess whether spending programmes and investment projects are delivering real benefits.

• A medium term expenditure framework with multi-annual ceilings on expenditure in each area, to ensure that public expenditure is managed within fixed, sustainable limits and to guide the planning and delivery of structural and policy reforms.

• An independent budgetary advisory Council will be established to provide independent commentary on the government’s budgetary planning.

• A general emphasis on more sustainable policy planning through a legal provision to require multi-annual planning and automatic adjustments based on revenue and growth figures.

Full manifesto

Fine Gael

Overseas Development Aid

As we resolve our budget crisis, Fine Gael will place a renewed focus on and approach to meeting the U.N’s Millennium Development Goals.

We will review the implementation of the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid with a view to addressing shortcomings and to build on successes.

We will establish a Civilian Corps, which could include job seekers to use and share their skills in developing countries while retaining job seekers benefit.

We will also restructure the Irish Aid Programme to ensure stricter funding criteria and to introduce a quality standard mark for aid delivery in Programme countries.

We will use the leverage that Ireland gains through our aid programme to encourage and support democratic development and respect for human rights in the countries of the developing world. We will support partner Governments and civil societies in their fight against corruption.

Emergency Humanitarian Assistance

In times of humanitarian crises, we will unite NGOs that provide humanitarian aid to create a single appeals mechanism for national fundraising and public response. This will maximise publicity for the cause, the receipt of emergency funds and ensure the effective and co-ordinated dispersal of emergency aid. The State will financially support these NGOs in their response. Ireland’s Defence Forces have a proud record in international peacekeeping. We believe that Irish troops should be deployed, if requested, to assist in emergency relief efforts at times of humanitarian crises.

Full manifesto

Green Party

Commitment to overseas development aid

Ireland has a strong international reputation in overseas development and international aid. The government, Irish NGOs and the Irish public together have made a very important contribution in these areas. The Green Party is dedicated to ensuring that we retain this good reputation by reaffirming our commitment to deliver 0.7% of GNP and advocating for delivery of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The Green Party will:

• Reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to deliver on all eight UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015. We advocate for a financial transaction tax to fund the Millennium Development Goals.

• Ensure that Ireland will deliver on the commitment that our overseas development aid should reach 0.7% of GNP and will publish a plan of year-by-year increases to achieve this.

• Seek that aid, as well as addressing basic human needs, should assist in developing democratic structures.

• Include aid measures to combat the effects of climate change, which impact on developing countries hardest.

• Continue to support Fair Trade goods, including in Government purchasing policy.

Full manifesto


A Commitment to Development

Labour is opposed to any further cuts in overseas development aid. Labour is committed to increasing overseas development aid to 0.7% of GNP, which we will seek to achieve by 2015. We will introduce legislation by 2013 to ensure that the ODA budget is provided for from the Central Fund, rather than being at the mercy of the annual estimates process, at which point we will publish a pathway to achieving the goal. The legislation will also give legal expression to the values and principles underpinning the aid programme, and will provide a framework to enhance the predictability, accountability and impact of Irish Aid. 

Making Ireland a Hub for Humanitarian Aid

One of the major current weaknesses of the international response to humanitarian crises or conflicts is the absence of a coordinating centre to assemble resources and personnel. In government, Labour will position Ireland to become an international hub for the storage and distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies, and for the assembly of military and civilian personnel for EU or UN peacekeeping missions. The Shannon airport area, with easy access to ports, extensive space, long runways and large depots would be an ideal location for such a hub.

Full manifesto

Sinn Féin

No mention of Foreign Policy/Ireland in the World/Overseas Development…


“We remain committed to increasing aid spending to 0.7% of GNP by 2015 and would introduce legislation to underpin commitments to the State’s programme of official development assistance.”

 “Sinn Féin is in complete agreement with many of the points proposed by Dóchas and indeed has campaigned on and endorsed these positions in the past. Although some of these may not be included in the text of the manifesto, they still firmly remain a part of our broader policy platform which we would bring forward in government.”

 “We would review Ireland’s aid programme to ensure that it reflects, protects and fulfils our obligations under human rights treaties and conventions.”

Full manifesto


Check out our submission to political parties here


Bookmark and Share