Development Assistance Tops €813 Million for First Time
€130 Million Increase In Overseas Aid
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, TD, today warmly welcomed the substantial increase in aid to developing countries from €600.5M this year to €728M in 2007. A further €85 million will be provided for development aid through other Government Departments, bringing Ireland's Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2007 to €813M. This increased allocation amounts to 0.5% of Ireland's GNP, fully meeting the Government's interim target for 2007, on the way to achieving the 0.7% target of the United Nations by 2012.
Minister Ahern said: “This funding increase shows the commitment of the Government to meet with its target of providing 0.7% of GNP in development aid by 2012 – a figure that will amount to €1.5 billion annually. Ten years ago Ireland contributed about €130 million annually in development aid – a total which now represents our annual increase.”
The Minister of State with specific responsibility for the aid programme, Mr. Conor Lenihan, T.D., emphasised that “Ireland is now well on track to fulfilling our commitment to meet the UN target of 0.7% of GNP by 2012 and, in terms of our size, Ireland continues to be one of the most generous donors in the world. Increased funds for Irish Aid will allow us to expand key areas of our programme, including Ireland's response to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies in developing countries.” The Minister added that “the implementation of the recent White Paper on development aid and the decentralisation of Irish Aid to Limerick will be key priorities for 2007”.
Funding for the Department of Foreign Affairs (Vote 28) will be at €209M in 2007. It includes a 25% increase in funding for Emigrant Services abroad. Minister Ahern said he was extremely pleased that €15.2 million (up from €12 million) will be available to support our emigrants in 2007 – “This represents a fifteen-fold increase in such provision since 1997 and reflects the Government's strong commitment to the welfare of the Irish abroad.” The funding will mainly go to groups in Britain providing front-line services to our emigrant communities. There will also be substantial increases for emigrant groups providing services in the United States, Australia and elsewhere.
In addition, Ireland's contributions to international organisations will increase from almost €26.4M this year to €31.9M next year, reflecting the Government's continuing commitment to the role and work of the United Nations. Funds for North-South and Anglo-Irish cooperation projects, supported by the Department's Reconciliation Fund, will amount to €3M in 2007.
Where it makes sound business sense to buy rather than rent, the Department is also engaged in a programme of purchasing premises for its Missions abroad and in refurbishing selected Embassies that are owned by the State. Under the capital allocations, €20M has been made available for the continuation of this programme in 2007.
The 2007 Estimates published today include a total provision of €208.8 million for Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs) and €728.7 million for Vote 29 (International Cooperation).
16 November 2006