Sinn Féin’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Seán Crowe TD, has responded to the announcement of increased spending for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by pointing out that it falls way short of the UN target that this Government has committed to.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I welcome that Ireland’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) has been increased from €600 million to €640 million. Ireland’s ODA must play a fundamental role in our Foreign Affairs and Ireland must prioritise our international assistance on efforts to end hunger, poverty and inequality around the world.

“The world is currently suffering an unprecedented amount of simultaneous conflicts and humanitarian disasters, and Ireland needs to play a role in helping to tackle them.

“I am concerned that only €10 million will go directly to the Irish Aid budget and the rest to multilateral spending. While multilateral aid and development programmes are important I will be pressing on the Government the need to make such spending accountable and transparent, in order to ensure our aid is as effective as possible.

“Additionally I will again be challenging the Government to fully document how they plan to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNI for aid spending target. The Government committed to reaching this by 2015 but have reneged on this promise and this current allocation just represents 0.36% of Ireland’s current GNI.

“The Government have again recommitted to the 0.7% target but have not explained how or when they will actually do this. In the interest of accountability and transparency I, along with others, have consistently asked the Government to do this and I reiterate those calls today.

“I also want to welcome the allocation of €25 million for the Refugee Resettlement and Relocation programme which will be administered by the Department of Justice.”