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Government turning its back on ODA commitments

12 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has this afternoon called on the government to reverse its decision to cut Ireland’s overseas aid budget by €95 million. The Dublin MEP has described the government’s silence on the ODA budget cut announced last week as deafening.


Ms McDonald said:


"The Government's decision to cut €95 million from Ireland’s overseas aid budget is indefensible and constitutes a betrayal of the world's poorest people. It is absolutely outrageous that the government has nonchalantly pursued this cost cutting measure. It is a slap in the face for every Irish person who campaigns and cares about for social justice.


“Despite the genuine commitment of the Irish people to help Make Poverty History campaign, the UN Millennium Development Goals on global poverty reduction by 2015 have yet to become a central objective of the current Irish Government.


“By cutting the cutting the overseas budget so significantly the Irish people can be left with no option but to question government’s commitment to adhere to the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid by 2012.


“In Sinn Fein general election manifesto we made a commitment to incrementally increase Overseas Development Assistance to 1% of GNP by 2010, to ring-fence the ODA budget and also to keep all such aid un-tied. We stand over this commitment today as we believe it is a goal that can and should be achieved.


“The excessive salaries and bonus of the hundreds of senior bank executives in one year alone would amount to far in excess of the €95 million government has wrenched back from the overseas budget.


“Ireland as a developed country has a responsibility to those most vulnerable. We have a responsibility to eradicate hunger and malnutrition. We have a responsibility to provide the necessary assistance to combat poverty. The Irish people have never shirked this responsibility.


“The government is answerable to the people. In 2005 over 20,000 people took to the streets of Dublin with a demand to Make Poverty History. The government cannot and should back track on its commitment on behalf of the Irish people.” ENDS

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