Dramatic increase in number of Irish people who think we should increase overseas aid

Monday, 12 Jan 2015

 New opinion poll published to launch the European Year for Development

 

Dramatic increase in number of Irish people who think we should increase overseas aid 

Irish people are now 12% more likely than last year to say we should increase overseas development aid, twice the European average.

With the Irish economy showing early signs of recovery, some 68 per cent of Irish people agreed that rich countries should give more, 12% more than said so in 2013’s special Eurobarometer survey on development.

The European average was 67% - an increase of just 6% on 2013 – meaning that the Irish willingness to donate is outstripping that of our European neighbours.

The poll was published to coincide with the European Year for Development (EYD) which was launched on 9 January in Riga (Latvia). EYD is a year dedicated to public debate about the EU's efforts to bring about a fairer and more sustainable world.

"This poll confirms what we already knew: people in Ireland are hugely supportive of international cooperation to fight the biggest problems of our time: hunger, disease, climate chaos and growing inequality. The vast majority of people in Ireland realise that our world is connected like never before and that what happens in one part of the world matters to us all," said Hans Zomer, Director of Dóchas, the body coordinating the European Year of Development activities in Ireland.

Almost nine out of ten respondents in Ireland (87%) say helping people in developing countries is important, again higher than the European average of 85%. In fact, they are the third most likely, after respondents in Sweden and Cyprus, to consider this ‘very important’ (56%).

Almost half of respondents in the Eurobarometer survey would personally be prepared to pay more for groceries or products from those countries, and nearly two thirds say that tackling poverty in developing countries should be a main priority for the EU.

Presenting the poll results, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica commented: 

“The aim of the European Year for Development is to inform EU citizens about development cooperation by highlighting the results that the EU , acting together with Member States, has achieved as the world’s largest donor”.

Some key results of the Special Eurobarometer on development:

The number of people who are in favour of increasing aid has gone up significantly: At 67% the share of Europeans who agree with this has increased by 6 percentage points since 2013, and a level this high was last seen in 2010.

Almost 3 out of every 4 respondents in Ireland think overseas aid should be increased: Almost nine out of ten respondents in Ireland (87%) say helping people in developing countries is important. In fact, they are the third most likely, after respondents in Sweden and Cyprus, to consider this ‘very important’ (56%), and Ireland is one of only four Member States where at least half of all respondents say this. Respondents in Ireland are also much more likely than they were in 2013 to think aid should be increased (+12 percentage points), with the percentage now just above the EU average (68% vs. 67%).

People in Ireland say international development cooperation should not be left to the Government alone, but requires citizen action: Respondents in Ireland are more likely than those in any other Member State (except Sweden) to say individuals can play a role in tackling poverty (68%), and Ireland is also one of the few Member States where a majority of respondents are personally involved in helping developing countries (58%). There has been a five percentage point increase in the proportion prepared to pay more for goods or products from developing countries (now 52%). When it comes to sources of information on development issues, a particularly high percentage of respondents in Ireland mention adverts or media campaigns (22% vs. 9% at EU level).

Most Europeans believe that Europe itself also benefits from giving aid to others: 69% say that tackling poverty in developing countries also has a positive influence on EU citizens. Around three quarters think that it is in the EU’s interest (78%) and contributes to a more peaceful and equitable world (74%).

For Europeans, volunteering is the most effective way of helping to reduce poverty in developing countries (75%). But a large majority also believe that official aid from governments (66%) and donating to organisations (63%) have an impact.

The European Year for Development (EYD 2015)

Ireland is the co-host of the European Year for Development 2015, which will be launched here at a conference in Dublin Castle featuring a keynote address from President Michael D Higgins.

2015 is the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the year in which UN member states will adopt a new global framework for poverty eradication and sustainable development. 2015 is also the year that a new international climate agreement will be decided, in Paris.

The EYD2015 will bring together young people, policy-makers, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions and individual stakeholders to focus on their common development aims.

Key events in Ireland include:

16 January: 11 visions for Sustainable Development: Ireland's MEPs on the European Year. Each of Ireland's 11 MEPs have provided 500 word statements on their visions of development, on the importance of the European Year for Development and on what they would like to see as key features of the new sustainable development goals that are to be adopted at European and world-wide level (Venue: European Parliament Information Office)

22 January: Ireland’s participation in the European Year for Development will be launched with a gathering of development professionals in Dublin Castle. President Michael D Higgins will be the keynote speaker. 

For further information 

  • The Special Eurobarometer can be found here
  • For more information on the event calendar of the European Year for Development 2015, please visit http://europa.eu/eyd2015
  • More information on EYD 2015 in Ireland are available through @EYD_Irl , Facebook and at www.dochas.ie/eyd
  • The 2014 Ipsos MRBI opinion poll key findings are available here 

  


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