Ireland ‘abandoning world’s poor’

Broken aid promise will cost lives – claim

Irish aid agencies have accused the Government of putting the lives of the most vulnerable at risk, by breaking a promise not to cut lifesaving aid to the world’s poorest people.

Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, told The Irish Catholic he was “dismayed and angry” at the Government’s failure to meet its commitment to the developing world, as it was revealed this week that the coalition is turning its back on a long-standing vow on vital overseas aid.


Ireland pledged to reach the UN target for spending 0.7% of our gross national income on overseas aid as far back as 2000. However, the aid budget has been drastically slashed for the last six years, falling by a massive 34.6% since 2008.

In the Programme for Government in 2011 Fine Gael and Labour said they remained committed to the 0.7% target and planned to achieve it by 2015.

As recently as February 2013, the Government reaffirmed this commitment at the European Council. However, Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello admitted at the weekend that the Government has decided to abandon this promise.


Mr Meehan told The Irish Catholic that what dismayed him most about the Government’s broken promise was that it gave “no fixed target date” to try to meet the commitment in the future, “despite it having been a pledge of successive governments since 2000”.

“Irish overseas aid funding makes a crucial difference to the lives of millions of marginalised people and this funding support is an issue of life or death for people living in extreme poverty across the developing world,” he said.

Sorley McCaughey, Christian Aid’s Head of Advocacy & Policy, said that rowing back on the commitment was a “retrograde” step. “Not only does it potentially undermine important lifesaving aid work, it may also damage our hard won reputation internationally,” he said.