Seán Crowe TD raises concerns over Ebola funding in the Dáil
Seán Crowe TD expressed his concern and asked the Minister of State with responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance, Seán Sherlock, the proposed funding pledged by the EU to fight Ebola and claims that it has not been transferred or reached those working on the ground to fight the virus.
Deputy Seán Crowe, the Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said:
“I tabled this question after the head of operations of the International Red Cross, Birte Hald, stated that Ebola is flaring up as aid agencies struggle to keep staff on the ground, and that EU pledges and donations have yet to materialise.
“I was happy to hear that all promised Irish assistance to fight Ebola has been paid and is reaching those fighting the virus on the ground, or is part of a structured payment programme.
“Ms.Hald also stated that the Red Cross has only seen €2 million of the EU’s promised €1 billion so far.
“I know that other organisations and the Government’s in West Africa also have to receive funds to stop Ebola, but the process needs greater accountability and transparency.
“Yesterday there was disturbing reports that burial workers in Sierra Leone’s third city dumped dead bodies in the street as a protest over having to work unpaid for the last 7 weeks.
“Ebola has now killed over 5,500 people and infected over 15,000. Billions have been allegedly pledged but burial workers, a key group in fighting the spread of Ebola, are not being paid.
“Surely if we have any hope of tackling the virus, it needs to start by at least paying health care workers, especially in Sierra Leone which has seen an increase in infections in recent weeks.
“If aid and assistance is not reaching the crisis areas and help doesn't arrive soon, the worst may not be far from over.
“We continue to thank and commend all health professionals and Ebola workers who are in Ebola affected countries and risking their lives to stop the spread of this deadly virus.
“The Irish officials and staff working there are a credit to our country and fantastic Ambassadors of our nation.
“Lastly, I called on the Minister to commend the Cuban Government, who has sent 165 medical professionals to Sierra Leone to help in the frontline fight against Ebola, by far the largest delegation of trained professionals of any country.”