International aid and global solidarity

 

Sir, – As discussions to form a new government continue, we, 31 leaders from the Irish Association of International NGOs, Dóchas, urge those undertaking talks to ensure Ireland’s continued commitment to helping the most vulnerable around the world.

Over the last two months, we have again witnessed the extraordinary sense of community and giving across the country in times of crisis.

We ask that as we come through the crisis our political leaders ensure that Ireland continues to extend this sense of generosity and kindness globally as we always have done as a nation.

The scale and impact of Covid-19 is slowly emerging in many of the countries in which we work, not just as a health crisis but also as an economic, political and social one with huge implications for communities and societies living in some of the poorest parts of the world. The UN’s World Food Programme is already warning that the number of people acutely in need of food could double to 265 million.

We also know that unless we defeat this virus everywhere we will defeat it nowhere.

We have no doubt that tough financial decisions lie ahead for those who will form a new government in the face of the economic impact of Covid-19. But we are asking that, as it has in the past, Ireland joins other countries in showing solidarity with the most vulnerable communities and nations by keeping global development at the core of its response, including protecting the overseas development assistance budget.

Ireland has a reputation of punching above its weight in terms of foreign policy and international cooperation, thanks in no small part to our long-standing commitment to global development.

This is something we must continue to cherish and preserve. – Yours, etc,

SUZANNE KEATINGE,

Chief Executive,

Dóchas,

FINOLA FINNAN,

Chairwoman,

Dóchas, and

Deputy Chief Executive,

Trócaire;

SIOBHÁN McGEE,

Chief Executive,

Action Aid Ireland;

MARGARET MEAGHER,

Chairwoman,

Aiding Resources;

RICHARD MOORE,

Chief Executive,

Children in Crossfire;

ROSAMUND BENNETT,

Chief Executive,

Christian Aid Ireland;

MARK CUMMING, CEO, Comhlámh;

DOMINIC MacSORLEY, CEO, Concern Worldwide;

BOBBY McCORMACK, CEO, Development Perspectives;

ANDREW ANDERSON, CEO, Front Line Defenders;

SIOBHAN WALSH, CEO, GOAL;

MAUREEN FORREST, Hon. Director, The Hope Foundation;

SARAH LENNON, Executive Director, Irish Council

for International Students;

FRANK GEARY, CEO, IDEA

ALAN MOORE, CEO, Irish League of Credit Unions;

LIAM O’DWYER, Secretary General, Irish Red Cross;

JOHN MOFFETT, CEO, Misean Cara;

MARY CUNNINGHAM, CEO, National Youth Council of Ireland;

JIM CLARKEN, CEO, Oxfam Ireland;

PAUL O’ BRIEN, CEO, Plan International Ireland;

RAY JORDAN, CEO, Self Help Africa;

GERARD O’CONNOR, Chair, SERVE;

CIARA SMULLEN, Interim CEO, Sightsavers Ireland;

SEAN COPELAND, Acting CEO, Tearfund Ireland;

CAOIMHE DE BARRA, CEO, Trócaire;

PETER POWER, Executive Director, UNICEF;

JOHN WEAKLIAM, CEO, VITA;

MIKE BURKE, CEO, VIVA;

HELEN WALMSLEY, CEO, Voluntary Service International;

NIALL McLOUGHLIN, CEO, World Vision Ireland;

DAVID BACKHOUSE, Deputy National Secretary, YMCA.