Dáil Éireann - Volume 594 - 02 December, 2004

Written Answers. - Overseas Development Aid.

[503]   178. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will reconsider the 0.7% target of GNP for overseas development aid and support the worlds poor on behalf of the people of Ireland. [31866/04]

  Mr. C. Lenihan: The Book of Estimates provides for an increase of €60 million in Government spending on official development assistance in 2005. This will bring total Government aid to the developing world next year to €535 million which is an all-time record.

In addition, the Government has agreed to make increases of €65 million in each of the years 2006 and 2007. These very substantial increases mean that €1.8 billion will be spent by Ireland on development assistance over the coming three years.

This is a remarkable package of increases by any standards. It places Ireland among the world’s leading aid donors.

Careful consideration was given by the Government to the area of overseas development aid before deciding on these allocations. The increases come at a time when there are many competing demands on the Exchequer and are an indication of the commitment of the Government to help the poorest people in the world. Overseas development aid has increased steadily over the past seven years and these latest increases ensure continued strong growth towards the UN target.