EU to send food worth €2.5m to Ireland
Irish charities are set to receive more than €2.5 million worth of EU-funded butter, rice and cheese throughout 2013.
This package is part of €500 million worth of food sent to a total of 19 EU member states under the Food for the Most Deprived programme.
Irish aid has increased each year because of demand. This year's funding is nearly double what Ireland received in 2012, when it was provided with €1.3 million out of €113 million on offer from the EU. In 2011, when total funding reached €480 million, Ireland received close to €1.2 million.
Until 2012, only cheese was provided to Irish charities. This food will be delivered at various times during the year to cold stores, where registered charities can apply to collect them.
Ireland will receive the 13th highest amount of charity food while Italy will receive the most receiving food worth more than €98 million. Luxemburg is set to receive the least, with close to €172,000 going to the country's poor.
The allocation of funds was voted through the EU's Single CMO Management Committee late last year. This is the last year the scheme will run in this way, as it is set to become more flexible, according to EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos.
“We can be proud of what this scheme has achieved over the years, but now is the time to think of how best to continue responding to the needs of the most deprived in future,” he said.
Speaking on the need for the scheme before Christmas, regional president of Cork's St. Vincent de Paul Society Brendan Dempsey said there are people coming to charitable organisations for food who have never been there before.
“There is a huge need for this food. My God there is. There are people who would bite off your hand for it. I have never seen anything like it before,” he said.
A number or EU countries have not volunteered for the scheme, such as Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Cyprus, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Slovakia. The scheme has been running since 1987, with an 18 million people each year benefiting from it.