Overseas aid fund gets boost of €177m

Budget 2023: Overseas Development Assistance to have budget of €1.2bn next year with Ukraine crisis to be targeted

Almost half of additional funding committed to Ireland’s overseas aid programme will be sent to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

The Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) fund was given a budget of more than €1.2 billion for 2023, an increase of €177 million.

The Government has committed to allocating 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) to the programme by 2030. Data released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last year showed Ireland had reached 0.31 per cent. The 2022 figure will be released in April.

Humanitarian needs

Irish Aid, the official programme for overseas development managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.


Announcing the increase in spending during Tuesday’s budget, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said Ireland was resolute in its support of Ukraine against Russian aggression, adding, “€75 million of the increased funding for ODA in 2023 will be to provide a response to the humanitarian needs within Ukraine and its immediate neighbours.”

An allocation of €30 million to mitigate the food security crisis at the Horn of Africa, where 22 million people are now facing starvation due to ongoing drought, has also been committed.

“Investment in global humanitarian and development needs is vital,” said Trócaire chief executive, Caoimhe de Barra.

Hunger and conflict

“Countries in the Global South face escalating humanitarian crises due to climate change, the economic impact of Covid-19, conflict, gender inequality, unsustainable and inequitable global food systems, and the failure of the international community to live up to their commitments on overseas aid.”

Ms de Barra said there was still a “significant way to go” before the Government met its 0.7 per cent commitment.

Karol Balfe, chief executive of ActionAid Ireland said the ODA funding allows Irish Aid to continue its “vital focus on addressing hunger, conflict, humanitarian need, as well as funding long-term development projects”.

“It also comes in the context of the climate emergency that is wiping out communities from Bangladesh to Pakistan to the Horn of Africa and leaves Global South countries drowning in debt,” she said.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times