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Government to renege on development aid target despite ranking as second wealthiest country in the world

12 September, 2005


Sinn Féin spokesperson for International Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said, "It is unacceptable that the second wealthiest country in the world still contributes less than half a percent of its GNP to the worlds most impoverished countries." Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking today after Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said it will not be possible for the Government to reach its spending target on overseas development aid.

He said, "Last week the UN's 2005 Human Development Report ranked Ireland as the second wealthiest country in the world. The same report called on governments to increase their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. Now the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is preparing to renege on Irelands commitment to spend 0.7% of GNP on overseas development aid by 2007. This is despite the fact that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is contingent on this aid. It is unacceptable that the second wealthiest country in the world still contributes less than half a percent of its GNP to the worlds most impoverished countries.

"The fact that many thousands of people participated in the Make Poverty History rally and campaign contradicts Dermot Ahern's view that everyone accepts this failure as inevitable."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also questioned whether the commitment to reach 0.7% has ever been genuine saying "all that is necessary to deliver on this commitment is the political will to do so. Development Cooperation Ireland and Dochas have recommended managed Overseas Development Aid spending growth in the form of an incremental increase each year until the target of 0.7% is reached in 2007. Sinn Féin continues to endorse this approach." ENDS

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