Statement by Minister of State Lenihan on the publication of the Estimates for 2006
Statement by Mr. Conor Lenihan T.D. Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights
on the publication of the Estimates for 2006
The increase this year is the highest in the 31 year history of the aid programme.
The increase in the aid programme set out in the Estimates (€129m) is greater than the value of the entire aid programme in 1995 (€123m).
We have come a long way in a short time.
With that expansion, we have managed to maintain the quality of the programme. We are, rightly, regarded as having one of the best aid programmes in the world.
I am determined to maintain that quality as the growth continues.
With total ODA expenditure by the Government reaching €675 million, we will be spending more than €160 for every man, woman and child in the country.
That statistic underlines a key point. This is the public's money. It is spent on their behalf, and well spent. We must get better at getting that message across.
It is difficult to communicate the work of any Government programme. That difficulty is compounded when the bulk of the programme's work is conducted thousands of miles from Ireland.
Increasing public awareness of the aid programme will be a key focus for me over the next two years.
The public's money is making a real difference in the lives of the world's poorest people. They should be proud of that.
As more and more people know and understand what their tax-euros are doing overseas, I know that pride in, and support for, Ireland's aid programme will grow.
The level of growth in the aid programme is remarkable by any measure, and it is set to continue.
In 2007, we will reach 0.5% of GNP and this growth will continue all the way up to 2012, when we will reach the UN target of 0.7%.
17th November 2005