What should we do to tackle world poverty? Conor Lenihan announces series of public meetings to discuss aid programme
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today announced details of a series of public meetings around Ireland to discuss the Government's programme of Official Development Assistance.
“In the last ten years, the Government has given almost €2.8 billion in overseas aid. Over the next three we will give a further €1.8 billion.
That is an enormous amount of money by any standard and it is, I think, time for a wide-ranging public discussion about how that money is spent. In recent months we have seen some discussion of the Government's approach to the UN target of 0.7% and of the timescale and aid volumes involved. That discussion will, no doubt, continue. However, we must also broaden and deepen that debate; we want people to consider the quality and nature of the aid programme and address questions such as,
What are we doing with this money?
Can we do it better?
Would this money be better spent at home?
Should Africa remain the main focus of our assistance?
As I announced in December, I will publish a White Paper on Development Cooperation, which will guide our work in this area into the future. The first step must be to hear what the public have to say about the aid programme, about this money which is spent on their behalf.
We have already invited written submissions. The deadline is the end of April and I hope we get responses from all parts of Ireland.
In addition, I have now asked that a series of public meetings be organised in different locations around the country.
We want people to come out and give us their views about the aid programme and our relationship with the developing world. If they disagree with what we are doing, they can tell us; if they agree, they can tell us that too. I am simply asking that they come out and make their views known.
I look forward to hearing their answers to the questions above and to many other important questions in the coming weeks.”
Below is the timetable for the public meetings. All meetings are scheduled to begin at 8.00pm.
Wednesday 13 April Limerick
Wednesday 27 April Waterford
Tuesday 3 May Athlone
Wednesday 4 May Galway
Tuesday 10 May Cork
Tuesday 17 May Tralee
Tuesday 24 May Dublin
Details of precise locations will be advertised in advance of each meeting.