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Opportunity for Irish Government to address overseas aid on UN day for poverty eradication

17 October, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today called for 'urgent action to tackle the causes of poverty in Ireland and across the globe'. Ms McDonald said that the 'UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty' should present the government with an opportunity to 'meet its commitments to spend 0.7% of GNP on overseas development aid by 2007'.

A petition has been handed into the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin today calling for the Irish government to keep their commitment to spend 0.7 of GDP on overseas aid by 2012.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"More than 68 million people within the European Union live experience poverty and when viewed globally these figures run into hundreds of millions. What is required is real political will to combat the causes of poverty. Poverty also affects one in four adults and one in three children in Ireland. A report into poverty levels in West Tallaght last October confirmed that many children in West Tallaght are living without adequate home heating, and were going to school in wet clothes.

"Combating global poverty will require all donors to increase the quantity and improve the quality of aid, make trade fairer and relieve unsustainable debt. Two thirds of developing countries spend more on servicing debt than on basic social services. Moreover, much aid remains 'tied aid', meaning that money is often given on the condition that goods and services are bought from the donor country.

"The 'UN Day for the Eradication of Poverty' presents the Irish Government with yet another opportunity to meet their commitments to spend 0.7 of GDP on overseas aid by 2007, never mind 2012. It is shameful that as one of the world's wealthiest countries, the Irish Government continues to renege on its international aid commitments." ENDS

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