SF TDs protest to Taoiseach about Overseas Development Aid
Sinn Féin's five TDs today wrote a formal letter of protest to the Taoiseach over the Government's failure to implement its promise to increase Overseas Development Aid to 0.7% of GNP. The Sinn Féin team demanded that the Taoiseach, as leader of the fourth wealthiest country in the world, to ringfence the money in future budgets to ensure the 0.7% goal is reached by 2007.
Speaking after the letter was sent to the Taoiseach Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said, "We wrote to the Taoiseach to protest at the failure of the Government to implement its promise to increase Overseas Development Aid to 0.7% of GNP by 2007. We urged him to make an iron-clad commitment this year to multi-annual incremental increases until this goal is reached in 2007, and to ringfencing the 0.7% in subsequent budgets.
"At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 the Taoiseach committed Ireland to meet this target by 2007. Instead, however, ODA spending has been frozen at the 2002 level of 0.41%. This is not acceptable. Ireland is the fourth wealthiest country in the world and is presently in a budget surplus. We have the capability not only to meet this target but indeed to surpass it, as five European nations have already done. It would therefore be an outrage and an embarrassment for the Government to even consider reneging on this commitment.
"It is well past time for the Taoiseach's to back up his "firm decision" with action. Development Cooperation Ireland and Dóchas have proposed an incremental increase each year until the target is reached: 0.5% in 2005, 0.62% in 2006 and 0.7% in 2007. We are calling on the Cabinet to implement this proposal, or a suitable alternative, starting with Budget 2005.
"We also urge the introduction of legislation ringfencing a minimum of 0.7% annually for ODA from the year 2008 on. Such decisive action would be a source of pride for the Irish people and would be warmly welcomed by Sinn Féin." ENDS