Overseas aid works and is widely supported - stop cutting the aid budget, say NGOs

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014

Irish overseas aid agencies today called on the Government to ensure it made no further cuts to the overseas aid budget and to set out how it will meet the 0.7% ODA/GNI target it had originally committed to achieving by 2015.

The call was made by the members of Dóchas, the umbrella group of 62 Irish Development NGO and global justice groups, as they presented their 2015 pre-Budget Submission to the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan TD. 

Presenting the submission, Hans Zomer of Dóchas said:

“Ireland’s overseas aid is effective. It makes real and positive differences to the lives of millions of people across the developing world. Thanks to aid, nine out of ten of the world’s children are now in school and millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Aid works, and we must sustain the progress being made. We are therefore calling on the government to keep our promise and urgently present a plan on how Ireland will achieve the UN targets on overseas aid.”

Dóchas also highlighted that there continues to be overwhelming public support in Irish society for overseas aid. In July, an opinion poll undertaken by Ipsos MRBI found that a very large majority of people – 75 percent – think that “even in an economic down-turn, we have an obligation to invest in overseas aid”.

“Public support for investing in overseas aid remains strong. This opinion poll shows that 3 out of every 4 people in Ireland do not want an economic crisis to be a reason for us to turn our back on the world’s poorest people,” noted Zomer.

“The figures remind the Government that the vast majority of people in Ireland feel strongly about our tradition, and our obligations towards those less fortunate than ourselves. The people of Ireland do not want the aid cuts to continue,” concluded Hans Zomer.

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Notes to the editor 

  • The Dóchas Budget submission can be found here 
  • The Ipsos MRBI survey findings are available here 
  • Originally pledged in 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit, it has been Government policy to reach the UN target for spending 0.7% of our GNI on overseas aid. The deadline has changed over time, however, as the original target date of 2007 was revised to 2012 and later to 2015. 
  • Figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs show that Ireland’s budget for overseas aid, measured in terms of percentage of national income, has fallen for six years in a row.  The figures can be found here 
  • An overview of the trends in Ireland’s aid budget is available on page 58 of this document.



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