Development aid will see ‘modest’ increase in Budget, Tánaiste says

Ireland Aid report says almost €800 million spent on foreign development aid last year

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Simon Coveney: pledged that Ireland will spend €250 million in education over the next five years as part of the State’s contribution to international development.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: pledged that Ireland will spend €250 million in education over the next five years as part of the State’s contribution to international development.

 

Development aid will have a “modest” increase in this year’s budget, but it won’t be “anything close” to what was allocated to the sector last year, the Tánaiste has said.

Speaking at the launch of Irish Aid’s 2018 annual report, Simon Coveney said the Government is putting a budget together in “extraordinary times” and that it is going to be “difficult” due to Brexit planning.

As a result, Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget - the money set aside to help promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries - will not be as big as the increase in 2018, he said.

Budget 2019 saw Government ODA increase by €109.8 million compared to Budget 2018 – the biggest year-on-year increase since 2006.

“We have made a decision, which believe me we didn’t do lightly, to design a budget on the basis of a worst case scenario as relates to Brexit. That means we are assuming a no-deal, that means we are assuming effectively no growth in the Irish economy next year,” Mr Coveney said.

“That has implications for every department. While we added to our ODA budget last year, we’re not going to be able to do anything like that this year.”

He added: “Even when we are looking at no increases in lots of sectors in Ireland and for Irish people, we will still be making a modest increase [in the ODA budget]. But that being said, we can’t match what we had last year or anything close to it.”

Earlier this year, Ireland pledged to double its foreign aid funding to more than €2 billion by 2030.

Mr Coveney said that the budget this year does not indicate that Ireland’s commitment to that promise is wavering.

“That does not mean that there’s not still a commitment to getting where we need to be by 2030 and that means that we need to more next year, and the year after and the year after,” he added.

Last year, Ireland’s spending on foreign aid was almost €800 million, according to Irish Aid’s annual report.

Ethiopia received the highest level of support from Ireland at €37 million, followed by Uganda at €26 million and Tanzania at €24 million.

The funds go towards issues such as gender equality, climate action and governance.

The Tánaiste also pledged that Ireland will spend €250 million in education over the next five years as part of the State’s contribution to international development.