Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, admitting Ireland had fallen back with its overseas aid commitments in recent years, said a schedule will be put in place to reverse that.
The State previously agreed that by 2015 it would spend 0.7% of its gross national income on development aid under the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). But our contribution has fallen back to just 0.3%, or 30 cent out of every €100. Mr Varadkar said that will change.
“By the middle of the year, we’ll have done some work on a review of our international development aid commitments,” he said.
“Ireland has fallen back quite a lot, first because of the recession, and secondly more recently because of a very fast-growing economy. Our contribution to international development is now only about 0.3% of our GNP or GNI*, whichever you prefer to use.
“We had been around .58 at one stage, so the time has come, I think, for Ireland as a country to start increasing our spending on international development again and that will be part of our plans for Ireland’s contribution to the world and also for our foreign policy and we’d hope by the middle of the year to be able set out a schedule as to how that can be done in the years ahead.”
Ireland’s development aid spending peaked in 2008 when it allocated €920.66m to overseas support. Next year, €707m will go on official development assistance, €500m of it on Irish Aid.