Irish NGOs express disappointment at aid cuts, but welcome measure on charitable tax relief

Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012

“International cooperation is central to fighting the global recession”

Irish development NGOs today expressed disappointment that the Government, announcing Budget 2013, has cut the overseas aid budget by €16 million.

Speaking on Budget Day, Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the Irish Association of Development NGOs said,

We recognise that, in these tough economic times, all budgetary decisions are difficult. Cuts in health care, education and social services have a isproportionate effect on the poorest and most vulnerable people. Similarly,
cuts to Ireland’s overseas aid budget will hurt poor people hard

Ireland’s overseas aid budget has been cut five times and by over 32% since 2008. In the interest of the fairness referred to by the Minister in his Budget peech, it is time to stop the cuts to overseas aid.”

Dóchas highlighted that there continues to be overwhelming public support in Irish society for the overseas aid budget. Research by Ipsos/MRBI found that 82% of Irish people think Ireland must continue to invest in overseas aid, even in this economically difficult time.

Irish overseas aid is proven to be among the best in the world in terms of valuefor-money and overall quality,” said Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland and Chairperson of Dóchas.

More importantly, our aid is effective. We encourage the government to stick with its international commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income n aid and to work towards a plan for achieving that goal,” continued Clarken.

Our overseas aid is an investment in our own future. As a small, open economy, we depend on global stability and prosperity. A safer, more secure world is good in itself, and good for Ireland, too. Ireland’s prosperity depends on global stability and international cooperation. Our overseas aid is an investment in just the sort of stability, fairness and prosperity that will benefit Ireland in the long run,” concluded Clarken.

Dóchas also welcomed the Government’s decision to improve the system of tax relief on charitable donations. Tax relief of 31% will be available on all private donations, and onors will only have to renew their subscription every five years.

The changes to tax relief on charitable donations, which Dóchas lobbied on, are an important step forward and a recognition of the importance the Government laces on the role of Ireland’s civil society. People in Ireland now know that their contributions will have even greater impact now, as s these measures increase charities’ income and drive down the cost of fundraising,” concluded Zomer.


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