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Budget cuts to overseas development aid a real setback to global justice- Sinn Féin

5 December, 2011 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn


Ireland's contribution to the poorest in the world reduced by one third since 2008.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the government’s cut of €53.3 million (over 8%) from the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) budget as “a setback to global justice”. The overall ODA budget has now been reduced by €315 million or by one third since 2008.
He demanded that the government immediately outline how they now intend to honour their Programme for Government commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of spending 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) by 2015 when they have moved even further away from that target in this budget.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“Those who have campaigned for global justice here in Ireland will be deeply disappointed by the government’s decision to cut the ODA budget yet again today. In 2008, Ireland contributed €921 million to ODA or almost 0.6% of GNP. Next year that total has been slashed down to just over €600 million or around 0.5% of GNP”.
“Over the last few years we have been told again and again about the damage done to Ireland’s reputation by this economic crisis. The story goes that the world now views us as greedy, reckless and incompetent and we need to endure a sustained period of cuts and austerity to cleanse us of our sins. This is all nonsense.
“The truth about Ireland is that we have been a world leader in overseas aid. Few had historically donated more per capita to improve the lives of the poorest people across the globe than us. We have been a generous and compassionate people. That has been our reputation across the world.
“However that reputation is being eroded over recent years and our moral weight to lead the fight for global justice is tragically being lost”.
He concluded:
“I call on the government to outline how it intends to honour their Programme for Government commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of spending 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) by 2015 when it has moved even further away from that target in this budget.
“The government need to outline their strategy for restoring Ireland’s place as a world leader in Overseas Development Aid.”
ENDS

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